Yay (In favour of crispy fries)

Dearest readers, what comes to mind when I mention the word “fries” to you? If you thought of crispy golden strips of perfection that came out fresh from the fryer, then you are just like me who’s in team crunchy fries!

The mere existence of this debate started due to my curiosity about Jia Xuan’s fry preferences. When I asked her the question, I was super confident that she would pick crispy fries (oh, how naive! T^T). As a girl who is all about crunch and texture, I was appalled when I heard my classmate gushing over how delicious a soggy and limpid fry is as compared to a crispy one (and here I thought people who prefer a limp fry never existed!). Upon hearing her answer, I felt betrayed and stabbed in the back due to her contrasting interest on how a fry should be. And so, just like Brutus and Caesar, the war is on and I am here to tell you why a crunchy fry is far superior to a soggy one. 

Imagine this. You had just won the lottery for one million ringgit. To celebrate, you decided to take a spin through the McDonald’s drive-thru and indulge yourself to some of their famous and addictive fries. As you pull up to the window and collect the piping hot batch of perfectly-cooked fries in its iconic red and yellow cardboard box, you know that you are in for a treat. Without wasting any more time, you take a bite out of the fry and enjoy the perfect balance of golden, crispy exterior that complements amazingly with its light and fluffy interior. Furthermore, the crunchy outside also plays a big part in the flavour as it retains the umami and savoury flavour of the oil and prevents it from turning into a soggy pile of mess. Who cares about the one million ringgit when you had just tasted the real prize! 

However, let’s just say that your poor fries were left untouched as you decided to snap a few photos to upload to your Instagram Story. As time passes, your fries may turn from golden spears of goodness to measly fries that are straight-up inedible in only a matter of minutes. Oblivious to this, you finally take a bite after posting and are surprised (or should I say attacked) by the sour and cold sting from the fries served past their prime. If that is not bad enough, the limp fry may also leave a grease-sodden taste on your palate due to its mushy texture. All of this may make you feel as though you just lost a million ringgit instead of winning them. 

Hence, to me (and everyone else who is sane), no matter the shape and size of a fry, it would probably taste delicious if it comes straight out of the fryer and is served hot with its crunchy texture still intact. So let’s say yay to crispy fries and nay to soggy fries! 

– Chloe, who thinks crispy fries embody the platonic ideal of how a fry should be

Nay (In favour of soggy fries)

Nay to crispy fries, I say! Or rather, nay to having them all the time. There is nothing quite wrong with preferring that crisp burst of flavour, but constant denial of soggy fries would mean that you are missing out on one of the simpler but absolutely delightful experiences of life.  

What makes a fry fall under the category of “soggy”? Soggy fries, in my modest opinion, don’t need to meet any specific requirements besides being soft or mushy when consumed. They can be dipped with condiments of your choice, which can vary from conventional ketchup to stew or ice cream, just like crispy fries. The key point to note here is that soggy fries aren’t trying to be greater than what they promise, after all they were mostly born from being left for a longer time out in the open. It is important to realise that they aren’t imposing themselves on anyone, instead being a consequence of our actions, whether intended or unexpected.

Moving on to the actual taste of soggy fries. Soggy fries possess that earthiness that reminds one of their humble potato origins. When you bite into a soggy fry, it is undeniable that you will get a tang of oil or grease, but that is quickly replaced with the taste of mushy potato. I would say this puts it somewhere in between crispy fries hot from a deep fryer and a tub of mashed potato. In other words, it is mashed potato in the form of a fry. Does that not sound comforting? 

And here we have a scenario: Imagine spending a whole day rushing through your work or completing some tedious task. You return home, sighing as the day’s events weigh heavily on you. The very idea of preparing an entire meal from scratch doesn’t entice you, and it’s getting quite late anyway. You order takeout, go home, and in an attempt to keep up the pretence that your life is organised and that all is well, you decide to take a shower, and get squeaky clean before digging into your meal. When all is done and you have a movie set up on the television, you retrieve your food from its paper bag. But what is this? Your burger is in good shape albeit slightly squashed from your journey home, but can you say the same for your fries? They’ve gone all soft, losing that brittle crispness that signifies its freshness! 

You bite into it all the same. Beggars can’t be choosers, and there’s no point complaining about it now. It may have been nicer if it were a warm, soggy fry instead of one that initially reminded you of cardboard. But hey now, it’s not too bad. In fact, the sogginess reminds you of your current weary and burnt out situation. It feels as if this soggy fry acknowledges the hardships you are going through and has gone through subtle metamorphosis to become like you. You can’t help but feel your heart constrict with strong emotion. Is this what it means to experience a heartwarming sensation? For once, you truly believe that in this harsh world, you are not alone.

Ah, but I can hear some non-believers saying, “What maniac would choose to subject themselves to the disappointment that is soggy fries in the first place?” They may state that cold, soggy potatoes do not fit into their ideals of a perfect snack. The answer to that question is simple. Soggy fries are a snack that reminds its consumers to appreciate the thought and process that went into the preparation of the moment of bliss itself. It was never meant to be appreciated by all, but only to those who understand.

– Jia Xuan, who enjoys a good mix of crispy and soggy fries, but who understands that soggy fries do not deserve such animosity

And there we have it. What do you prefer your fries to be like – crispy, soggy, or a generous mix of both?

Written by: Chloe and Jia Xuan

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