Sweet Potato Fries

Did you guys read about that new nutrition study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in June? Jane Brody offered a good summary of it in the New York Times. The findings weren't all that surprising, but reinforced many of my thoughts on nutrition: the kinds of foods you eat matter more than the sheer number of calories, not all fats are bad for you, exercise is important but not enough on its own, etc.

The study also offered an analysis of specific foods that contribute the most to weight gain: "French fries led the list: Increased consumption of this food alone was linked to an average weight gain of 3.4 pounds in each four-year period."  Whoa. French fries are no good for you.

So, can I still admit that fries, and especially sweet potato fries, are one of my very favorite bad-for-me indulgence foods? Mmmm...the crispy fried outside with the soft warm sweet inside gets me every time.

And my favorite incarnation of all are the sweet potato fries at Alchemy, here in Madison ("Madison, Earth" as the menu reads):

They come piled high on a plate with two dipping sauces. I'm pretty sure the fries have evolved over time, and are cut differently every once in a while. This photo was captured on a night when the fries were very thin and crispy, almost chip-like. I actually prefer them a little fleshier, but was still happy to devour this plate.

But really, the thing that makes these sweet potato fries better than all others is the dipping sauces: tarragon mayo and blackberry-jalapeno jam. Something about the contrast between the sweet salty fries with the spicy fruity jam and the fatty savory mayo creates a combination of flavors that is unbeatable. I crave these fries and sauces on a far too regular basis.

3.4 pounds every four years, you say?

Totally worth it.