By Liv Barry
When eating on campus, it is natural to gravitate towards comforting, filling foods that you know will satisfy rather than take a risk on a new meal.
For many students, fries are this go-to item.
They are one of the most reliable foods served up on campus; students do not have to worry about this tried and true classic suddenly being removed from the dining hall’s menu, as fries are available at the Homestyles station with every lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.
The only catch? In order to maintain variety in the foods they serve, the dining hall switches the kinds of fries they serve almost every day. Some days, you get curly fries, on others, you can grab crinkle cut or sweet potato.
To help anyone who might be at a loss as to which kind is the best, here is our ranking of the top styles of fries served at the dining hall.
Let me first make it clear that this ranking does not reflect my feelings on all shoestring fries, but rather, shoestring fries served at the Washington College dining hall.
While shoestring fries are generally one of the tastiest forms of fried potato, when offered at the dining hall, they tend to be overly-crispy with little to none of the rich, salty flavor usually associated with fries.
Maybe my expectations were too high going into this ranking, but the dining hall’s shoestring fries were a big disappointment. Some Old Bay and malt vinegar could not even save this dish.
6. Tater tot
Cut-up, seasoned, and deep fried potatoes — tater tots are by definition a subcategory of fry.
Most often served at breakfast and weekend brunch, the dining hall’s tater tots are subpar. Oftentimes, they are soggy, or even undercooked, making what should be a dependable breakfast classic a no-go.
The only reason tater tots are ranked higher than shoestring fries is because they can be saved by adding a dollop of ketchup and a little bit of Old Bay.
5. Potato wedges
While they are the most frequent kind of fry served at the dining hall, potato wedges are mid-tier at best.
Without the golden finish and seasoning of a traditional french fry, potato wedges are bland and forgettable. Additionally, they often go under-cooked, making for a disappointing meal.
4. Crinkle cut
Whenever the Homestyles station serves crinkle cut fries, you know that it is going to be a good day.
With their fun shape and crispy finish, these are the closest thing to fast-food style fries that the dining hall serves.
Regardless of whether you douse them in mustard, ranch, or Tabasco, these classic fries taste fantastic.
These days, waffle fries are a rarity in the dining hall.
While they were regularly served in years prior, there were few times this semester when the Homestyles station served waffle fries. Maybe it is my nostalgia speaking, but the few times that I got this kind of fry, I was always left satisfied by their crunch and deep flavor.
2. Sweet potato
This is an unpopular opinion, but it must be said: the dining hall’s sweet potato fries are actually good.
Whether it is because of their flavor or simply because they are served frequently, sweet potato fries have countless haters — I refuse to be one of them.
The sweet-and-savory dish is both yummy and reliable. When served with ketchup and a bit of hot sauce, sweet potato fries are one of the best foods served regularly at the dining hall.
To compensate for the controversial opinion, I will speak a near-universal truth — curly fries top this ranking by a wide margin.
Crisped and seasoned to perfection, curly fries are by far the tastiest treat found at the dining hall. Hit them with a little bit of Old Bay, and you have a perfect side dish for lunch or dinner.
Photo by Mia Snyder.
Photo caption: Tasty, cheap, and easy to whip up, french fries are a staple for college students. When paired with a dipping sauce, like ketchup, mustard, or ranch, the treat can be elevated to the next level.