French fries are undoubtedly the most popular side order at any burger chain in America. I say that having done absolutely zero research, but I’m confident that it’s true. It also seems to be true that everyone has a different opinion about fries, and they love to express these opinions and, ultimately, start arguments about them. French fry arguments are like music preference arguments: nobody’s going to win, but somebody’s going to get a black eye. Okay, maybe not that drastic. But somebody’s getting banned from the ilovefrenchfries.com message board, is all I’m saying.
(PS â€“ ilovefrenchfries.com is not a real website, so put your trolling equipment away.)
I must be bizarre, because I usually don’t order french fries. I don’t hate them, I just don’t really care for them either way. I’m comfortable having a monogamous relationship with my hamburger. Adding fries would just make the burger jealous and cause all sorts of problems. My burger and I are perfectly happy together. We don’t need any french fries coming in to “spice up the relationship.”
This could be either good or bad, in regards to this review, because today I’m taking a look at Jack in the Box’s new and supposedly improved french fries. Unfortunately, I can’t for the life of me remember what their old fries tasted like. Fortunately, that gives me a fresh palate I can then use to rain my judgment down upon these fries.
According to Tammy Bailey, division vice president of menu marketing and promotions for Jack in the Box Inc. and someone who probably has to use a very small font on her business card, “Weâ€™ve received a lot of feedback from consumers on what they like most about French fries, with flavor, texture and crispness at the top of the list. So we created our new French fries with a crispier outside texture that enhances the potato flavor and helps them retain their temperature.”
Well, Tammy, I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree with you on some of those points. My fries were lukewarm at best, so either this magical outside texture is not working or my order had been sitting out for a while. They did have more flavor than other fries I’ve had, which did conjure some vague memories of the old Jack in the Box fries I’ve had. It’s a flavor similar to Burger King’s fries, from when they changed their recipe however many years ago. Instead of just having the flavor of grease, there’s a taste kind of like batter that makes them less bland than most other fast food fries. While the flavor was pretty good, I thought they could have used a little more salt.
The crispness is an interesting topic. Jack in the Box claims that their feedback from customers states that crispness is an important factor. Well, I got a little feedback of my own, from about a half dozen of my friends. I asked them what their favorite fast food fry was, and why. I was surprised at the results â€“ every single one of them said they liked McDonald’s fries, because they’re limp, greasy and overly salty.
Take that with a grain of salt, har har, since these are my friends, and anyone who associates with someone who deliberately attempts to find and consume the most disgusting junk food she can find is probably of questionable taste and character to begin with. That said, the Jack in the Box fried potato sticks do live up to their claim of crispness. While I did get a few of those small, crunchy, hard fries, there wasn’t a limp stick in the bunch. Insert “limp stick” joke here.
Jack in the Box mostly succeeds in what they set out to do. While my fries were lukewarm, raising questions about how well the outer texture actually insulates the pommes frites, and I found them to be lacking in salt, they are indeed perfectly crispy and more flavorful than the average fry. The question is, is this what the people want? Well, I guess that all comes back around to the ageless polarization of people’s opinions on french fries. Some like ‘em crispy, some like ‘em greasy, some like ‘em salty, some like ‘em limp. And as long as people have assholes â€“ er, wait, I mean, opinions, there’s going to be someone out there who likes Jack in the Box’s new, crispier fries, and someone who wants to punch that person in the face.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 small order – 333 calories, 138 calories from fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 15 grams of total fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1 milligram of cholesterol, 607 milligrams of sodium, 432 milligrams of potassium, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugars and 4 grams of protein.)
Item: Jack in the Box French Fries (2010)
Size: 1 small order
Purchased at: Jack in the Box
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Delivers the promise of crispiness. Monogamous burger relationships. More flavorful than most fries. People getting overly agitated about flavor preferences. PR mostly living up to its own hype. Limp sticks?
Cons: Not enough salt. Getting a black eye over french fries. Magical texture jacket not keeping my fries warm. Limp sticks?