Two examples of the Medium Utility Knife with single-and-double grind blades are used to completely investigate the world of the French Fry and related fried potatoes. The knives have blades that are six-inches long and two-inches deep with straight cutting edges, truncated, scooped points, thumb notches on the blade and grips ending with oval rings. They are designed for medium-sized hands, and the single-ground blades are offered in right and left-handed versions.
In contrast to the Small Utility Knife, aka the Caterer’s Friend, the longer blade will cut through medium-sized potatoes and slice through large ones as shown in the video. The thumb rest on the top of the blade forward of the handle provides the ability to give the blade a firm push for splaying a piece of celery or sugar cane.The video, shown below, demonstrates the better control and cutting ability of the single-ground blade for making precision cuts on raw potatoes with the added utility of using the flat point for mixing, stirring and scraping – capabilities not found on conventional pointed knives. This style point is also more convenient for spreading, if the Chef needed to layer on a coating of lard, softened butter or cream cheese.
The small storage footprint of the Medium Utility Knife is particularly useful in crowded apartment or galley cooking nooks, the blade’s strength is adequate for many tasks usually performed by larger butcher knives and its multi-function capabilities even has potential utility for the wilderness camper and backpacker. Although its edge will slice, the lack of a point makes it less likely to poke through a pack on man or mule to cause serious damage in the event of a tumble on a rocky trail.
One feature that the truncated point and inclined handles that are offered on almost all of the knives in this series is that these features clearly distinguish these knives as cooking tools, rather than offensive weapons. A Chef carrying a roll of his knifes on the way to open his kitchen at 4:00 A.M., is much less likely to be harassed by law enforcement, since these are clearly culinary tools. While these knives could be used for defensive purposes, no reasonable person would carry one of these if he intended to do harm to another, as almost any other pointed knife of the same weight would be more effective as a weapon, more easily obtained and far less expensive.
Like it or not from a health point of view, the French Fry has become one of America’s major food groups. As a boy experiencing the economic rebound of the late 1940-50s, the rule was the larger the better. Fries were cut from only the largest potatoes, all skin was removed and they were fried in anything available, including lard. As things progressed over the decades, the large potatoes were cultured and sold as premium-priced baking potatoes.Both to reduce costs and increase the taste factor, fast-food fries of later decades became smaller so that they could hold more salt, resulting in fries that are now about one-quarter inch in size and about 3-inches long.
Chefs, and those who seriously cook, have long know that smaller potato fries could be cut from even smaller potatoes to make better tasting, interestingly seasoned fries by not only using salt, but also various grinds of peppers and seasonings sprinkled on the hot fries . These might include items like chili power, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, ginger, etc., to produce fried potatoes having distinctive mouth feels and taste. These additions brought the fried potato from the depths of being only a gut bomb to satisfy hunger to a pleasurable eating experience.
Most recently the Potato Log has become common in the Southeast in which an unskinned potato is cut into quarters, rubbed with coarse salt and pepper and fried in hot oil. These take longer to fry, but when cooked completely through (not always accomplished in fast food places) turn out to be the equivalent of a poor man’s steak. With coarse salt and pepper, the mouth feel and taste is somewhat as satisfying as eating a piece of meat, and when properly seasoned can be more tasty.
A Hovey Fry is introduced in this video where the unskinned potato is cut into eights, and fried which results in a product that uses all of the potato, results in no wasted food, preserves the nutrients in the skin and can accept a variety of added seasonings. This is the fried potato product what should be offered in areas where food is scarce, hard to obtain and the maximum amount of nutritive value needs to be wrung from every bit of food. All of us do not live in the land of eternal plenty and peace. Even if we do, food is too valuable a product to waste.
A new potato-salvage dish is the “The Rough and Tumble,” in which the cuttings from the potatoes used to make the fries are fried and seasoned with coarse salt, coarse pepper and chili powder. The hot fried potatoes are mixed with finely chopped onions while the oil clinging to the potatoes is still hot and chips of cheese are stirred into the mix. No further cooking is needed, and the Rough and Tumble is served while still hot.