I wonder if I should start all of my food snob posts with a disclaimer to folks that they may be offended by what they read – just remember, everything I’m posting is all in the name of better health!
We used to always have McCain Smiles Fries in the freezer for a quick toaster oven snack. The idea of these posts was actually triggered by the huz mentioning smiley fries the other night during dinner. Looking at the ingredient list now, it seems so ridiculous that this even made it into our shopping cart.
Ingredients in this lovely product include: Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Contains One Or More Of The Following Oils: Canola, Soybean, Cottonseed, Sunflower, Corn), Dehydrated Potato Flakes (Potatoes, Mono- & Diglycerides, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate & Citric Acid Added To Preserve Natural Color). Contains 2% or less of Dextrose, Natural Flavors, Potassium Chloride, Potato Starch – Modified, Salt, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate Added To Maintain Natural Color.
Mmmm…gotta love me some Pyrophosphate…and the “Natural Flavors”.
The ingredients in most of McCain’s potato products are similar to the Smiley fries (although I’m sure they’ve come up with some line of “natural” products to make us feel good about ingesting these fake items). This could probably be said about most of the potato based items in the freezer. One exception I have found that I actually enjoy is the Alexia line of products. However, if you’re looking to save on your grocery bill, these won’t help you with that – I’d rather just buy my own potatoes and season them myself.
Although cooking with potatoes requires some advance planning, I choose to eat my own version of baked fries: peel or scrub your favourite potato, and cut into your desired shape. Rinse the potatoes in water a few times and then soak them in water for about 10 minutes. Dry the potatoes well and lightly coat with olive oil and salt – bake in the oven for about 40 minutes at 400F. You’ll be tempted to move around the fries, but leave them alone – they will stop sticking to the pan on their own.
Hash browns are a bit more tricky, but always much better made in a nonstick pan on the stove top. If you’re in a rush, just cut your potatoes into smaller chunks.