Donuts and fried chicken and onion rings, oh my! So yummy! Almost everybody loves fried food of some sort. I can make all of these things and yet I rarely do. And I wish the reason was that I know it's not very healthy food. I wish that was the reason, but it's not.
I do try to cook and eat healthy most of the time. But man oh my do I crave foods that are not good for me. And I'm not one of those super disciplined folks who can take one bite of one cookie, set it down and walk away forever. Nope. I commit. And I refuse to eat some so called "healthy version" of bad foods either. Nope. If I'm eating unhealthy, it's going to be full fat, real sugar, real butter, total complete delicious, bad for you yummy food.
However, I do pump the brakes on fried foods. For several reasons:
First of all, it's messy. No matter how hard I try, there ends up being oil everywhere afterwards. It's on the stove top, the back splash, the floor and the counter top. And it's hard to clean, partly because it's clear and therefore essentially invisible. Just when I think I've cleaned everything, I find another spot. Aggravating. And it's not easy cleaning either. None of that lickandapromise cleaning that I am so fond of. Nope, it's real, serious, down and dirty scrubbing. That's the only way to clean after frying.
Then there is the oil itself! What do I do with it when I'm done? I know my Nana used lard or shortening to fry things. I'm sure it tasted better and honestly it's easier to dispose of because it solidifies. Just let it cool then scoop it out of the pan and into the garbage. Nana would, of course, save the solid fat in an old coffee can and then re-use it. Which, while efficient, grosses me out. Soooo nope. I use a heart-healthy vegetable oil. It's supposed to be better for you, but it's harder to get rid of. I know that I'm not supposed to pour it down the sink and yet that's what I do because I don't know what else to do! If ever we have a giant plumber bill, it's probably my fault and following a terrific fried chicken dinner.
Also there is the safety issue. To properly fry foods the fat must be hot. And as soon as you add something to that hot fat, it bubbles up. Sometimes it bubbles up a lot (watch any video about deep frying a turkey it you want to be terrified). Even if it's a mild bubbling fat, at some point that sneaky fat is going to pop and leap out of the pan. Of course it does! How else do you think that oil gets all over the stove top? And since you are standing right there, and you had better be front and center when frying because it can go wrong in an instant, the person cooking is the one who had the fat bubbles jumping up and burning them. I have a couple of really good scars on my hands resulting from frying foods. No matter how hard to try to be safe, there is no escaping the fat bubbles.
And it's flammable. If you aren't smart and careful, frying can absolutely cause fires. Just consider that a PSA.
And of course there is the original issue, fried foods is not particularly healthy food. So it should be eaten in moderation.
But none of those things are the primary reason that I am reluctant to make fried foods. It's because of the smell. Not the smell while cooking. It smells delectable while it's cooking. It's afterwards. That oily, fried food smelly lingers. It clings to fabric like clothes and unholstery and carpet. It loiters in the miniscule droplets that fell to the floor or popped up onto the backsplash while you were cooking. The smell lurks in your trash can and down the sink drain. And I hate that smell. It's kind of gagifying.
Now I will confess that I have a very strong sense of smell. My olfactory system is always working overtime. But anyone with any sense of smell at all can pick up at least some of that after fragrance of fried food. So I resort to using the exhaust fan on full blast and have windows open all over the house despite the weather AND put an box fan in the closest window pulling the inside air outside while I'm cooking. It is so loud in the kitchen while I'm frying that conversation is frankly impossible. And despite those precautions, despite the fans and open windows, irregardless of my mad cleaning sesssion the following day, no matter than I've cleaned the sink drain the dishes and taken out the garbage, after frying I can still detect that smell in the house for several days. I use copious amounts of air freshner and kick my cleaning into high gear for 2 or 3 days runnings. Clean and re-clean and re-re-clean. All in an effort to eliminate, once and for all, that godawful smell.
So be prepared. Anytime I am overcome with a desire to fry anything, I am ready. I know that I will be cleaning the heck out of the house afterwards, I have bandaids and a fire extinguisher on standby. I already have windows open and the box fan in place. I am ready to fullfill that craving for yummy fried foods.
Or we order take out.
Meanwhile, have a great weekend whatever you end up eating. Hugs all 'round.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.