Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Thank. God. It's. FryDay.

The first thing I want most in the world is a set of visible abdominal muscles. I ask for them for Christmas every year, and they never come. The second thing I want most in the world is something fried to eat.

You can see my dilemma-these two things rarely happen to the same person. It’s a one or the other type deal. Those Carl’s Jr. commercials are a lie.

I have a crème brulee torch, a Japanese mandoline, and a cherry pitter. These things make my kitchen an arsenal of deadly culinary toolery, and I consider the cabinet next to my sink to be my first line of defense in the event of a break-in. I will dash PAST the mace by the door, push the block full of sharpened knives OUT of the way, seize the contents of that cabinet, and brulee the intruder to a crunchy-brown sugar crust. Or slice them into thin uniform rounds with my mandoline. I’ll just have to see how I feel.

But my food preparation brinkmanship does have a limit. I draw the line (for myself, not others) at a deep fryer. Here’s why:

First of all, I know that once I get started I won’t be able to stop. Fried chicken is a gateway drug, make no mistake. The road to hell is paved with good fried chicken. It starts there, and it ends with you staying up for four days straight frying peanut m&m’s and mini marshmallows individually with a crazed look in your eye smelling like a chicken nugget, and all the while justifying it to yourself by muttering: “Can’t waste all this oil, can’t just throw it away…such a waste…such a waste...” Trust me, if you're Breaking Bad in your midnight kitchen with a jug of canola oil, don't do it for the sake of being "green."

Secondly it’s a lot of work, and I’d rather just let someone else do it for me. It takes a lot of prep time, and then it’s gone. The people you fry things for will love you forever and stain their shirt with your finished product, but it still remains the ultimate thankless task. Like untangling Christmas lights, or putting tights on a baby.

The holiday season is always tricky to navigate, and this year was no exception. First, Halloween comes out of nowhere, and you find yourself eating Twizzlers and Mike and Ikes, even though you’ve never liked either.  They come in tiny boxes this time of year, so there’s less to dislike about them, and you’re wearing your very clever costume that you still have to explain to everyone, so why not?

Then Thanksgiving happens. You think- “I’ll just start the day with two cinnamon rolls and hash browns wedged in between because the next twelve hours are going to be a caloric massacre anyway, so what am I waiting for?”  When you find yourself dunking a cinnamon roll-hash brown sandwich in your coffee before 10am, there’s no way this day can be saved.

THEN the holiday music played in every single public space gets to you. Every year, suddenly and without warning, I out-of-the-blue trade my raw sugar cappuccino for a festive egg-noggy beverage that looks like cellulite in a cup. There’s no chance of wondering what it will turn into.  You already know.

New Year’s Eve is your last decadent meal, until you need a massive carbohydrate buffet to soak up the after-effects the next morning. And then Chinese take-out that night, because maybe you have to work tomorrow, and you’re still a bit groggy. You’re not cooking tonight, that’s for damn sure.

So I for one roll into February like a human Turducken, managing to physically encompass the lasting effects of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas-all in one body. 

I know what you’re thinking. Juice Fast! Seriously, pull yourself together. I made it 10 hours on straight juice, only to find myself laying in bed drinking hummus out of the container as though it was soup.

A juice fast does have it’s upside however-because after a full day of drinking liquid carrot and sitting motionless in a chair looking like you just had all your blood drained for science, it hits you. I would do anything to be able to chew something right now. Work out more, less cheesecake, stop eating the cookies I bring to work. By the way, that’s WHY you brought them to work, fool!!!!  So you WON’T eat them yourself!

For me, a big part of the compromise lies in the idea of eating only really really good things that I really really want.

We’ve all wasted enough stomach enzymes on soggy mozzarella sticks, and gummy egg rolls to know what really something fried really well should taste like. We’ve all had the good stuff: bowling alley fries, county fair funnel cakes, vacation coconut shrimp…

Auntie’s Fry Bread is the good stuff.

\They (see the lovely "Kate"above) describe Fry Bread as “a Native American Style Bread that is handmade and cooked to order. It’s light, fluffy, and delicious, fried in 100% canola oil.” All of this is true, but to me it is something even better, even more rare and special. The kind of thing I would invent in a haze, then dismiss when I decide nobody else could possibly want the crazy things that I want.

Listen closely to me. Focus on my voice, and breathe deep:


Each dish is served on a golden brown disk of Native American Fry Bread, basically a light and fluffy savory circle of crunch.


Let’s go clockwise, shall we? On the right:

Three Sisters Veggie
A delicious mess of grilled squash, onions, and corn over black beans. On a personal-sized round of crispy fried dough. Certainly the greatest preparation of vegetables I’ve ever encountered. It makes the infamous salad served in a “bread bowl” look like a tired, washed up has-been.

Stop crying, bread bowl. You’ll make yourself soggy.

Next: The Hunter

Slow Cooked BBQ Beef in Auntie’s “Special Sauce,” topped with coleslaw.  You know how the greatest part about BBQ is that its goopy and sloppy and messy? In this version, its STILL goopy and sloppy and messy AND delicious and smoky, BUT…you don’t miss out on all the stuff you normally leave behind on your plate. You eat it. How?


Last: Dessert

A syrupy-strawberry jammy puddle on fry bread with confectioners sugar. It’s a simple sweet slider that brings it all home.

I chose the slider version of these, so that I could have many. BUT I suggest you show up hungry and get full-size. Larger EDIBLE PLATE. ;)

The Auntie’s Fry Bread trucksters grew up in Montana, where Native American fry bread tacos were a comfort food staple at pow-wows and other gatherings. They couldn’t find them here in LA, so they took matters into their own hands.

And then I took matters into my own stomach. And so should you. And if you still have second thoughts, let me repeat:


                                            Your Weekly Misfire:


  1. I LOVE............... THIS FOOD, I don't miss them when they come to my job each month and follow them to see if they will be near my home sometime....if you haven't had Auntie's Fry Bread YOUUUUUUUU ARE MISSING A TREAT.


  2. Whenever Auntie's Fry Bread truck is in or near the San Gabriel Valley, I always make a point to stop by. The Food is that good!!!

  3. i'm with you on owning a deep frier - we used to have one when i was growing up and luckily, i was able to eat a serving of fries each day in addition to my regular meals then, but as times have changed, we shouldn't make temptation too easy. but i love the idea of fried bread!!

  4. I played the Japanese mandoline in my high school band.....

  5. I once considered the newspaper that held those delicious fish n chips I ate in England as a child an "edible plate." I haven't made much progress in that department since. At 34 years old it's about time I stepped it up - I believe fry bread is it.