So, to recap the butterfly effect created from one off-handed French fry comment: Last week I wrote, without a second thought, that steak fries suck. Our lovely commenters told me I was wrong and I should burn in hell. That inspired a point/counterpoint about the merits of steak fries: My colleague Gwen Ihnat was for, I was not. That in turn led to a discussion in the comments section about French fry shapes, which inspired this piece where Takeout staff ranked our favorites (my opinion: shoestring), with a side trip wherein our staff blind taste-tested ketchups. Whew, that’s a lot of words about fries.
We think we can wring this sponge dry with one more conversation-starter, that of French fry dipping sauce. So let’s have it—aioli, Tabasco, sweet and sour, Whataburger spicy ketchup—what is the ideal dipping sauce for French fries?
Does someone make a “Team Aioli” sweatshirt? Because I would wear that shit. Garlic aioli—creamy, tangy, savory—is my preferred fry-dipping sauce, bar none. It hits multiple, glorious notes: richness, zestiness, garlic-y-ness, and it adheres well to the fry so I’m able to deliver approximately a tablespoon of sauce into my mouth with each swoop. If I can’t have aioli, ketchup is the next best thing (make it Heinz brand or GTFO). Ketchup also has the tangy aspect covered, but its sweetness makes it slightly less appealing for me than good ol’ mayo. Rounding out my top 3: ranch dressing. It’s vaguely trashy on French fries, but what are my other options? Mustard? [Kate Bernot]
This is a throwback to my college side-job at a grad-school hangout that specialized in calzones and nachos and fried food. Working there constituted the vast majority of my diet for my four years at school. On break, I would take leftover fries, dowse in seasoning salt, and dip in sour cream. What goes for baked potatoes goes for French fries. [Gwen Ihnat]
This is how I’ve done my fries for at least 10 years: Ketchup, Kewpie, a few dashes of hot sauce. I like that tomato sweetness, but I also like the richness of mayo, and some Mexican-style hot sauce always did it for me. Also acceptable: Heinz 57, Raising Cane’s sauce, Popeye’s Blackened Ranch, and beef-based gravy. [Kevin Pang]