Monday, September 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Chick Wit: Anything's better extra, extra crispy

My faith in American ingenuity is restored.

We just invented fried butter.

Whew!

You may have been worried that we didn't have any more tricks up our sleeve, but you would be wrong. We used to invent things like electricity, heart valves, and polio vaccines, but we've finally come up with something useful.

Somebody at the Iowa State Fair developed a recipe for deep-fried butter.

It sold like hotcakes.

Fried hotcakes.

What an idea! How else you gonna meet your daily cholesterol requirements?

They make it by freezing a stick of butter, dipping it in batter with cinnamon and sugar, deep-frying it in vegetable oil at 375 degrees, then drizzling it with a honey glaze.

You know you want one.

The other best sellers at the state fair were deep-fried pickles, deep-fried corn dogs, and deep-fried macaroni and cheese.

I might move to Iowa.

Land where the tall corn (dog) grows.

It's not just state fairs, either. My favorite fancy restaurant serves microgreens with fried goat cheese. Guess which I eat first, the microgreens or the fried cheese. Right, and thank God the fried cheese isn't micro.

Tell the truth. Who hasn't dived into a plate of fried mozzarella sticks?

Bottom line, it's time to concede that we love fried things. French fries, fried onion rings, fried chicken. And we don't just love fried food, we even love the fried part, all by itself.

Everybody on earth has nibbled the fry off of something.

Case in point, me.

Back in my nonvegetarian days, I used to love Kentucky Fried Chicken, extra crispy. Extra crispy was code for really, really fried. When there was no more chicken left, I ate the nuggets of really, really fried. Even after two days in the refrigerator, I ate delicious knots of crunchy, salty, really, really fried.

The chicken was beside the point, because the only thing that mattered was the fried, and that's true with every fried food.

It tastes the same.

Fried.

Yay!

This is why I order shrimp tempura at a Japanese restaurant. Because all I taste is the fry, and I might as well be at Seafood Shanty.

Tempura is Japanese for corn dog.

We agree that frying will make a good thing better, but the truly amazing thing about frying is that it will make even disgusting things better.

Example?

Calamari.

It's a squid, for God's sake. Have you ever seen a squid? If you had, you wouldn't put it in your mouth.

But fry it, and people fight to get to it first.

Same thing with softshell crabs. A softshell is a crab that has recently molted its shell, so that its exoskeleton is still soft. You wouldn't normally eat a soft exoskeleton, much less all the stuff that's inside a crab, namely whatever he ate last.

Do you think crabs are picky eaters?

I don't.

So you have to factor that in.

Plus the eyes are still attached.

Enough said.

If you had to eat a softshell crab as is, you would refuse. Your better judgment would prevail.

But fried?

Everybody's there.

The proof is that people in Thailand eat fried bugs.

Now you know why.

Tastes like (fried) chicken.

The next step is only logical. If frying makes disgusting food delicious, there's no reason to stop at food, at all.

I'm not only thinking out of the box, I'm thinking out of the refrigerator.

If you can fry squid, you can fry flip-flops.

If you can fry butter, you can fry bark.

If you can fry bugs, you can fry Crestor.

And you're gonna have to.


Look for Lisa and Francesca's humorous essay collection, "Best Friends, Occasional Enemies: The Lighter Side of Life as a Mother and Daughter," in paperback Sept. 18. Also look for Lisa's recently published novel, "Come Home." Visit Lisa at scottoline.com.

Lisa Scottoline Inquirer Columnist
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