Freedom Fries

09.04.13

Could I Possibly Have Been Wrong About the French Fry Burger?

After I slammed Burger King’s new French Fry Burger, the Internet slammed me back, with people around the world defending potatoes on sandwiches. Who knew?

Ask and ye shall receive. In my column Tuesday morning, I described Burger King’s latest “innovation,” the “French Fry Burger,” as a culinary abomination, poorly designed and poorly executed. One of the problems, I argued, was the very presence of a potato product inside a sandwich. In my experience, it’s been a pretty rare phenomenon. I asked people who knew of and loved such combinations to enlighten me via Twitter.

Well, the potato-bread lovers (Tater Bots?) came out in force. In the comments and in my Twitter, they came by the dozens, citing domestic and international examples of bread and potatoes. It turns out that a distressing number of my fellow brethren and sisters in the media world actively seek out such products.

By far the most cited was Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh, a four-outlet chain where all sandwiches are topped with french fries. According to the company’s history the tradition got started in the 1930s.

All over the country, regional examples abound.

In New Orleans, readers directed me to Verti Marte in the French Quarter.

There are also practitioners of this dark art in Portland, Oregon; Champaign, Illinois; and … the Upper East Side of Manhattan?

But for domestic nastiness—in the mix of ingredients and in the name itself—it’s hard to top this entry from New Brunswick, New Jersey. It’s a sandwich composed of chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, and french fries. And it’s called the Fat Darrell.

My network of international correspondents chimed in. in India, where a big chunk of the population doesn’t eat meat, starch on starch is far more common.

In my piece, I cited the odd fry stuck into a falafel. Throughout the eastern Mediterranean, it’s common to see a solitary fry or two stuck into wraps—souvlaki in Greece, doner in Turkey. In Belgium, naturally, they stick fries into baguettes and come up with a fancy name for it.

Last but not least, several correspondents scoffed at me for ignoring the chip butty, which consists of fries in between buttered white bread.

There’ll always be an England.