Saturday, December 10, 2011

French Fry Diary 308: The Original Burger King French Fries

When I was a kid, fast food was slow coming to my hometown. In fact, even today, Atco has no fast food restaurants in its city limits. The first to show up in the area was Gino's in Berlin, the next town over, which I've talked about before. We'd had McDonald's up in Lindenwold and down in Hammonton, but that was it as far as choices until the mid-seventies. That's when the McDonald's opened in Berlin, and everything changed.

Where there was McDonald's, there was Burger King, because the burger wars always escalate, and Burger King opened right across the White Horse Pike from the McDonald's. Taco Bell, Wendy's, Arby's, Roy Rogers, etc. all followed in Berlin, but when it comes right down to it, it's always about the big two.

Today, we're talking about Burger King however, the Burger King of my youth, and their original French fries. Burger King recently changed their fries, ending a reign of crappy fries they had had since the early nineties, but before that, they had really good fries, really good fries. When I first encountered BK, I fell in love with their charbroiled burgers, so much better than McDonald's. This is also where I started dipping my burger in my milkshake, BK being best for this practice, and notably best with a plain burger and a black and white shake. This remains the case to this day.

Burger King is also where I started stacking or planking. Those two words might mean something else these days, but to me, and in reference to French fries - stacking and planking, also known as sandwiching is the act of putting fries on your burger, creating a layer of potatoey goodness across your burger. In my years of doing this blog, I have happily found I'm not crazy, and I'm not the only one who does this, or shake dipping for that matter. BK's original fries were perfect for sandwiching.

About those original BK fries, they were shoestrings, similar to McDonald's, only less crispy and slightly more greasy. They were just short of a limp shoestring French fry, but unlike Wendy's new fries, BK's were substantial enough for dipping in shakes without breaking or bending. They were also delicious, and addictive. Whereas the old BK fries, I could barely eat one or two, the originals I would sometimes finish off two orders in a sitting. They were that good. They are still very much missed. I wish they'd bring them back.

Unfortunately, the original Burger King fries, being pre-internet, are extremely hard to get images of, so I have compensated with this blog entry. Find below a vintage BK commercial from the 1970s, plus above a glass featuring the old animated and much-less-creepy Burger King, as well as one of the BK ashtrays that everyone in my high school had snatched from the restaurant and had one in their bedrooms - smokers or not. Enjoy the nostalgia.

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