One of my biggest pet peeves about a lot of recipes and cookbooks supposedly geared towards families, is the multiple appearances by this sentence: “And your kids will love it, too!” It is usually tacked on to the end of a recipe intro as though the phrase alone will make the scrumptious looking Crab and Kale Cakes (with Rouille!) magically appealing to your children. I always want to ask, How do you know this exactly?? Have you ever met my kid? Have you ever met my neighbor’s son who subsisted solely on oil-cured black-olives for the entire third year of his life? When I started Dinner: A Love Story, I made a vow to myself — having, of course, written this same sentence several times before in my various magazine jobs: I would never presume any other kid likes something that my kid likes or pretend to understand the way kids palates are programmed. I would merely write about the foods that my kids eat and hope that this would inspire parents to experiment at their own dinner tables. I would never ever write “And your kids will love it, too!” I promise!
But now, I’m afraid, I’m going to have to break this promise. Because, really, I have yet to meet a kid that doesn’t at least tolerate these French fries, or as they’re known in our house, these “Mega Fries.” I realize this is not such a giant risk to take — even if they are a somewhat healthy version of French fries, they are, after all, still French fries. But then again, my daughter does not like pasta, which is every bit as universally loved as a fry. And my nephew doesn’t like pizza. And last weekend, Phoebe’s friend, who won’t drink a glass of orange juice, took a big spoonful of fermented beans at the Korean restaurant — I think that’s what they were — even though she didn’t have any idea what they were.
Ok, forget it. I give up. I have no idea if your kid will love these. But it’s certainly worth a shot.
Heat oven to 425°F. Cut two baking potatoes, or about one potato per diner, into wedges as shown. Toss them in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a splash of water. (To upgrade to spicy mega fries, add a pinch of cayenne, paprika, and garlic salt. Make sure spices are evenly distributed.) Lay down foil on a baking sheet and spray with a little cooking spray. (Crucial. They will be hard to remove from foil otherwise.) Line up your fries in rows as shown and bake for 25 minutes or until they are crispy and golden looking. Sometimes, I turn a piece of parchment paper into a cone and let the girls carry their stash around.