Your Friday Afternoon Chat Transcript

Deep Fried Fair Food

One time, many months ago, Steve and I tried to start a recurring feature in which we post the unrehearsed, unplanned, and (basically) unedited transcripts of our IM conversations that deal with the weightiest of matters. It didn’t go over so well, and everyone got super mad and that was a darn shame, because it was an amazing post and I’m not remotely bitter about it nope not at all.[1] Anyway, we are going to give it another whirl today with a topic no less divisive than last time: Deep Fried Foods. If you’re interested in seeing what spurred this conversation into existence, go here.

Scott: Gotta say, the whole deep-fried fair food thing just puzzles me. I think it’s all gross. Like even when people are showing “the greatest” fried stuff at fairs, none of it is appealing to me.

Steve: I like fried foods. Those little donuts.

Scott: Me too–but not fried for the sake of frying. Like, I think a decent corndog is great.

Steve: yes.

Scott: But they go so over the top that the result isn’t a corndog anymore–it’s 6 lbs of batter with a gargantuan sausage in the middle, and leaves you sick.

Steve: fried foods, ranked:

  1. Fries
  2. Donuts
  3. Corn Dogs

Scott: bro. bro. bro.
Uh, chicken.

Steve: 4. Fried Ice Cream.

Fried chicken is between 2 and 3.

  • 2.5 Chicken

Scott: Fried Chicken is the King of Fried Food. Frying oil was invented specifically so that people to fry chicken.  all other fried foods are footnotes.

Steve: Fries > Fried Chicken

Scott: All I can say is that you must have eaten some terrible fried chicken.

Steve: I don’t always want fried chicken, but I love fries.

Scott: I guess I don’t even think that fries should count.


Scott: Right–that’s sort of the problem. They are synonymous with frying–there’s no other way to make fries. Like potato chips. Potato chips are out, too.

Steve: Whereas, there are lots of ways to make fried chicken? That’s just dumb. Oven-roasted rosemary potatoes

Scott: No, a french fry is also a shape designation.

Steve: You’re just wrong. There is also no other way to make any fried food. That’s what puts them in this category.

Scott: No one french-cuts their potatoes and then roasts them with rosemary.

Steve: Yes, they do.

Scott: You know who does? Jerkholes, Steve.

Steve: Drizzle with olive oil and salt, into the oven. Very common.

Scott: Here’s what I’m saying:

Steve: I’ve been waiting to hear what you’re saying. WAITING

Scott: If you go to a fair, and go to the big booth of amazing fried foods, and see the platter with the big chrome lid over it, and watch the big crowd giddy in anticipation at devouring whatever deliciousness is underneath that lid….when it’s lifted up and it’s a plate of fries, everyone will be ticked. And they’ll be like, “WTF? French fries?”

Steve: just because they’re ubiquitous does not put them outside the category.

Scott: Yes it does. It’s like ranking drinks, and saying WATER BRO!

Steve: You’re making an argument towards category adjustment, not towards exclusion of fries.

Scott: Hold on–i’m polling my coworkers.

Steve: Yes, that should settle the issue. BTW, hawkgrrrl says fries are in.

Scott: Of the 5 immediately available, 1 says “Out”–no way is it included, and the other 4 say they are persuaded by both of our arguments. The one who says “out” says, “A ranking of the ‘Best Fried Foods’ is implicitly not about ‘accompanying starches’ like french fries.” It’s about entrees and/or desserts.

Steve: Tell that man to suck it. I’m out (I have to go to the airport).

Scott: Just pinged Burneko on the issue.

Steve: oh I’m sure your formulation was objective.

Scott: “@AlbertBurneko settle a dispute? Can a list of the “Best Deep Fried Foods” include french fries or do they violate the implied intent?”

(Waiting for Steve to return…)

Scott: Okay, so Burneko says that he think french fries “kind of have to be included.” But what he suggests is this: Why not define the list as breaded/battered and fried. At first I thought that was a good solution…but that would technically exclude all pastries. So no fritters. WHICH IS BS

Steve: See, there you go. Except fries also have batter.

Scott: Only in the technicalitiest of technicalty-ways

Steve: I think we can agree that bear claws rule. Though I am unclear as to the difference between bear claws and apple fritters

Scott: Yes, unless they’re 3-days old and eaten cold in a hotel room

Steve: Surr

Scott: Don’t you mean “Sir”?

Steve: I was slurring the word “sure”

Scott: You’re drunk on arrogance over your narrow victory in the french fry argument.

Steve: Surrr, occifer, I haven’t been dranking.

How about this – fried foods not available from fast food restaurants. It excludes chicken but also fries.

Scott: Corndogs are out, too, then. #LISTFAIL

Steve: True.  I guess I just like fries. More than fried chicken. That said, there are a few fried chicken places I love.

Scott: Like, for example, my house, if you ever came over for dinner. I made fried chicken for my coworkers a few weeks ago.

Steve: You have the weirdest workplace.
We should post this conversation.

Scott: Yes, it is worthy. I also desperately need a chocolate chip cookie.

Steve: I lurve a good chocolate chip cookie. My new neighbors make great cookies. They brought over chocolate chip cookies and snickerdoodles. Both were perfect. This truly is Zion.

Scott: Isn’t a Snickerdoodle just a sugar cookie with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top? Or is there more to it than that?

Steve: Roughly, yeah. But they’re a little chewy.

Scott: My mom made those often when I was a kid, and I thought they were fine, but vastly inferior to the chocolate chip.

Steve: Ok, apparently I need to go to airplane mode now. I expect this conversation to be posted before I land. Go Badgers!

[1] If you don’t know what this referring to, and would like to see what caused such a firestorm, TOUGH LUCK! Take it up with the people who got mad and threw a fit.


  1. Steve’s right that both fries and doughnuts come before chicken in the list. But that’s not to knock fried chicken! Just today Brad and I grabbed Curry Fried Chicken for lunch. . . . (

  2. 1. fries
    2. doughnuts
    3. fried chicken
    4. American-style scones

    And then almost anything else comes before corndogs.

  3. An acquaintance was once complaining about johnny cakes being served at a (free) breakfast. She kept saying “It’s just fried dough!” Uhhhh, you mean like donuts? Funnel cake? Fry bread? Scones? Churros? Beignets? Basically all of the most delicious food items on earth? Okay.

    I approve of this post and encourage more like it.

  4. OK, you’ve restored balance to the Friday Afternoon Chat series by this utterly uncontroversial chat. Now put that old post back up. Sheesh. The comments were just getting good and woosh! Gone.

  5. Mark B. says:

    No fish??? What’s wrong with you people? Nice piece of cod or haddock, breaded, fried, with a pile of chips. Put it at the top of the list. Ahead of chicken.

    No fish in the Midwest? Tough.

  6. Scott B. says:

    Fries are excluded, john f. Steve can argue all he wants, but he ain’t around to do nuthin’ about it right now.

    Cower before me, weaklings.

  7. Scott B. says:

    Anyway, the correct list is:

    1. Chicken (whole pieces)
    2. Fritters/Bear Claws/Whatever
    3. Lesser donuts in all their varieties.
    4. Shrimp
    5. Corndogs
    6. Onion Rings
    7. Chicken (nuggets, strips, etc…)

  8. Scott B. says:

    Mark B., fish is fine. But ahead of chicken? Please.

  9. I wish I’d had more time before I had to go into airplane mode, because I wanted to tell Scott about the guy I saw in the airport walking around with perpetual duck face.

  10. I would put cinnamon crumb donuts at the top. Then fries. Chicken in the top spot is just weird. Fish in the top spot is a sacrilege.

  11. Angela C says:

    Fish over chicken, definitely. Although not those fish in China that are still half alive / half fried because animal cruelty. Chicken has no taste. Also chickens are stupid, so I approve of their slaughter, but in fairness, fish are hardly Rhodes scholars. I think eating live food is OK if you are a Klingon, but not for the rest of us. Sorry, China.

    Truffle oil fries with parmesan. That’s good stuff. Also, flash fried spinach with chili flakes and sea salt. Food of the gods. Funnel cakes are good stuff, too, and Indian jelabi which is really similar.

    Snickerdoodles are not the same recipe as sugar cookies. They have cream of tartar in them which makes them taste more tart than sugar cookies.

  12. leonasankhla says:

    Amen, Angela C on the jalebi (with some poha in the morning for breakfast, mmmm). To that I’d add samosas, spinach pakoras, onion bhaji, rava vadai… And that’s just the Indian list.

    Here’s the firangi list:
    1. Donuts (duh)
    2. French fries, in all their varieties
    3. Onion rings
    4. Mormon scones

  13. Hedgehog says:

    Nothing beats really fresh Cod or Haddock deep fried in batter, and consumed whilst watching the waves crash the shore. Fish and chips can often be mediocre, but when done well it’s the best.
    Tempura vegetables and prawns run a close second, especially the aubergine.

  14. Bro. Bro. BRO.

  15. No mention of a Taco Time Crisp Chicken Burrito? For shame.

  16. 1. Fries
    2. Chicken nuggets/popcorn chicken
    3. Doughnuts
    4. Homemade mini corn dogs
    5. Navajo fry bread
    6. Scones

  17. Bro. Chicken.

  18. Mark Brown says:

    I CANNOT BELIEVE nobody has yet mentioned fried pork chops.

  19. I cannot believe nobody has mentioned tempura, katsu, or clams, to say nothing Twinkies, and Oreos. Really, good tempura is a delight. Oh, yes! Once I FEASTED on deep fried rocky mountain oysters. They were superb, but they will make no one’s list for self explanatory reasons.

  20. Angela H. says:

    1. Mormon Scones with butter and honey
    2. A delectable entree called a “Mushroom Thing” from Scott’s, a now-defunct (I think?) drive-in diner in West Valley City, Utah. Mushrooms on a stick, dipped in batter & deep fried, served with a side of fry sauce. I ordered a mushroom thing from Scott’s on my first date with my husband.
    3. Taco Time Crispy Bean Burrito with green sauce
    4. Minnesota State Fair Mini Donuts*
    *Minnesota State Fair Sweet Martha’s cookies are actually my favorite state fair food, but this is not a fair food list. Although you did mention chocolate chip cookies, so I figured I’d slip in the reference.

  21. Hedgehog says:

    rw, I mentioned tempura. not katsu though. Katsu is ok, but …

  22. You Yanks and your fancy food. In countries like mine, crippled by Lend-Lease and the Anglo-American loan, we set our sights low. The best fried food bar none is fried bread for breakfast, soaked in the juice of baked beans and a runny egg yolk, with a touch of brown sauce as flavouring. You have not lived until you have experienced the fried bread at the Officers’ Mess at RAF Cranwell. On such were the victories of the Battle of Britain built.

    Fried bread!

  23. Angela C says:

    How could I forget the best fried food ever: Thai pancakes fried in mango butter. Personally I like the ones with fresh mango folded inside, although the nutella and banana ones aren’t bad either.

  24. Parts of Germany have rolls that are half fried and half steamed–Dampfnudeln. Cheap, filling, and very tasty. But only half fried, so it probably doesn’t meet the criteria.

  25. “The best fried food bar none is fried bread for breakfast, soaked in the juice of baked beans and a runny egg yolk, with a touch of brown sauce as flavouring.”

    Ronan, was your comment meant to make us gag, or was it meant as a joke? “Brown sauce as flavouring”? That is pure comic genius.

  26. Nope, I was deadly serious.

  27. it's a series of tubes says:

    Unfortunately, RJH is telling the truth here. I know many people who feel the same way.

  28. Brown is not a flavor. And since when do Brits even know about flavors? Scott is, I hesitate to say, almost entirely correct:
    1. Chicken wings
    2. Chicken legs
    3. Chicken breasts
    4. Chicken thighs
    4a. Chimichangas
    5. Unidentifiable chicken parts (nuggets, strips, etc.)
    6. Sticky buns
    7. Lesser meats (seafood, pig, turkey, etc.)
    8. Other bread stuffs

    1,821. People who diss fried chicken (i.e., they are disgusting)

  29. Hedgehog says:

    There’s nothing wrong with brown sauce. Look it up! ( It’s great for BBQs, wraps, dips etc. and full of flavour.
    It’s a very, very long time since I had fried bread though – I go for dry toast with my full English breakfast (which I only eat on holiday).

  30. Mark B. (#5) says No fish in the Midwest? Tough.

    Excuse me? I live in the finest state in the Midwest, Walleye Capital of the Explored Universe, and there ain’t no better eatin’ fish.

    Kudos to Angela H. for mention of the Minnesota State Fair mini-donut. You can get almost anything deep-fried at the Minnesota State Fair, usually on a stick.

    Even walleye.

  31. Chicken fried bacon outranks all other foods. /Thread

    The moment when the crackle of the crust gives way to the fatty, salty taste of the pork is truly transcendent.

  32. Scott B. says:

    I have no idea what RJH is talking about, but it sounds terrible.

    Anyway, I can’t imagine that it qualifies anyway, because it doesn’t seem like it’s actually deep-fried.

  33. Since when are scones fried? All the scones I’ve ever had were baked.

  34. “Scone” is a regional Utah term for Indian fried bread or sopapillas. It’s a strange usage of the word, but it is what it is. Here’s an exploration of the usage:

  35. Just checked the collections of the DUP (Heart Throbs and Utah: Our Pioneer History). The only usage of “scone” clearly refers to regular and not Utah scones. (“Grandmother took some of the flour and mixed it with water and made some scones and baked them and then awakened the children to eat them. My mother said that no cake had ever tasted so sweet to her, before or since, as did that scone that night.”) So I’d guess that this alternate usage is more recent than pioneer times.

  36. Hedgehog says:

    Scott B, on fried bread, when done at home it isn’t generally deep fried, but when done in quantity it certainly is. My husband remembers the fried bread made in quantity at his school here, and shudders!

  37. Mark B. says:

    But, whatever the origin, those deep fried scones, served with honeybutter, are the only true and living scones on the face of the earth with which I am well pleased. So what if it confuses the rest of the culinary world?

  38. Scott B. says:

    Yeah, Utah scones–or “scones” as I think of them–are divine.

  39. btdgreg says:

    Oh, and one more comment:

    4) Cronuts (or crossaint donuts) seem to be going national. I ate one for the first time at a Korean bakery in a Dallas suburb. My sister in Alaska said that the local supermarket had a sign saying “cronuts – coming soon!” The person who invented the cronut, Dominique Ansel, just won a James Beard Award for Best Pastry Chef. If you’ve ever had a cronut, you will have to admit that the cronut is a very fried food.

    I’m glad BCC is finally posting about topics I know something about.

  40. btdgreg says:

    Hmm. Comments 1-3 seem to have disappeared.

  41. btdgreg says:

    Attempting to re-post:

    Three points:

    1) Snickerdoodles are not, in fact, “a sugar cookie with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top.” If they are, you’re doing it wrong. To make snickerdoodles, you need cream of tartar. You don’t to make sugar cookies.

    2) Last Saturday, I found myself in the drive-in at Chicken Express (a Texas fast food eatery) with my family. Although I was in the driver’s seat, my wife had a better idea of what we should order, so she was leaning over me and ordering. When it came time to pick two “family sides,” she immediately said “mashed potatoes,” then paused just long enough for me to use my Jedi mind tricks and suggest “fried sliced pickles.” To everyone’s suprise, it worked. Four of the six agreed that the pickles were delicious, and the majority was correct.

    3) Osaka is the food capital of Japan. Well, no, that’s not actually true. Kyoto is probably the food capital of Japan, but that’s because of Kaiseki, the elaborate, meticulously-prepared and expensive multi-course meal that is the height of Japanese cuisine. But when people just want to eat and eat for cheap, Osaka has Kyoto beat, hands down. Osaka invented a food called kushikatsu, which is basically fried stuff on a stick. It’s delicious. You can order a dizzying array of fried stuff on a stick, and it’s all good. All of it is batter fried. So while fried food is an American thing, it’s definitely not just an American thing.

  42. What the hell is cream of tartar? It’s not cream. I hope it’s not made of Tartars. You can’t make Tartar Sauce with it.

  43. Angela C says:

    Welcome to the party, Steve. I mentioned that about 5 days ago upthread: “Snickerdoodles are not the same recipe as sugar cookies. They have cream of tartar in them which makes them taste more tart than sugar cookies.”

  44. Capozaino says:

    Hush puppies. Do you even BBQ, bro?

  45. Mark B., you haven’t lived until you’ve tried non-Utah scones with enough butter. Once Upon a Tart’s cookbook has amazing scones (though I haven’t eaten them from the store) and the various Alice’s Tea Cup restaurants serve them with clotted cream and jam. Those are the True and Living Scones.

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