A fresh-fried nightmare

One of the great mysteries of living in America in the 21st Century is why anyone still thinks that deep-fat frying is the most exciting thing we can do to a piece of food.

Don't get me wrong; a small order of French fries straight out of the fryer can be divine, and there's no other way to get fried chicken. A fried pork wonton can be astounding.

But even though I've had a front-row seat to the ever-escalating war of deep-fried foods at the Iowa State Fair for the last 35 years, I don't think anyone has taken it quite so far past the realm of plausibility as they have now with the deep-fried BBQ chicken stuffed pizzadilla.

If you haven't seen it yet, prepare yourself. You might want to keep a big roll of Tums handy:

 

Of all the madness in the preparation of this Frankenfood, it's the deep frying that might make the least sense of all.

I understand that frying satisfies certain cravings: It creates a crispy "skin" on the food, satisfying a primal desire for texture, while trapping the juices inside the food as it cooks.

But there are so many other great ways to cook food! Roasting, searing, smoking, broiling, grilling, sauteeing, even my new favorite, air-frying...it just seems sometimes like the eagerness to prove that someone has the boldest new fried-food choice -- this never-ending arms race to produce the wildest new "Fried X on a Stick" -- robs us of an appreciation for the creativity that ought to come from preparing food in more original ways.

And that's to say nothing of spices and seasonings! Deep frying generally overwhelms any other flavors but salt unless those seasonings are dropped on the food like a sledgehammer. And that means we don't get to fully appreciate what can be done with flavors like rosemary or cumin or paprika or so many others. Nope -- deep frying means you have to either overpower the fried flavor with massive doses of salt (as on French fries) or you have to cut it with something based in vinegar, like ketchup or barbecue sauce.

That's right, I said it: Deep frying deprives us of better food experiences.

Bottom line on the pizzadilla: They were so busy showing the Internet that they could, they never stopped to ask if they should.

Brian Gongol

Brian Gongol

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