Yesterday I went to lunch and had a cheeseburger. I got the combo, which came with fried potatoes. They weren’t exactly french fries, because the potato had been sliced horizontally, rather than vertically, in an obvious bid to introduce a slight difference to a lunchtime staple — but they were fried potatoes, just the same.
As I sat at a table, munching on one of the potato slices and gazing down at the remainder, I realized that I’ve had it up to here with fried potatoes. Cheeseburgers never get old, but I think I’ve hit, and now surpassed, my spud tolerance threshold. And I suspect that I’m not alone, because restaurants seem to be desperate in their search to serve potatoes in a different form. In the past few weeks my cheeseburgers have been accompanied by tater tots, and thick-cut “steak fries,” and potato wedges, and “natural-cut” fries with some of the potato skin still on, and kettle chips, and “shoestring potatoes,” and sweet potato fries, . . . and of course standard, run-of-the-mill, french fries. It’s been more potatoes than a cheeseburger aficionado should reasonably be expected to endure.
Some time in the distant past, before the cheeseburger combo meal was invented, people ate side dishes that consisted of food items other than fried potatoes, so we know that potato-free dining is, in fact, possible. Cooks and chefs and restaurant owners of America, it’s time for you to rise to the challenge! Bring your culinary creativity to bear! Cast aside your sacks of potatoes, and put down the potato peelers!
We cheeseburger consumers beseech you to find an alternative to the ubiquitous side of french fries. Crispy plantain slices, perhaps, or carrots, or apple chips, or even crispy kale — I’m so desperate I’ll try just about anything other than a greasy mound of spuds that have been sliced or diced in some fashion and tossed into the deep fryer.