My grade school friend, Jennifer Treiber, was the daughter of our school cafeteria cook. You know how most people complain about school food? Well, I cannot relate to such nonsense. Our school cafeteria had the best food. Poor Boy sandwiches that I have never had anything compare to. Chicken Supreme that was too good to be wasted on the grade school palate. Cinnamon rolls that were so ooey and gooey they would practically melt in your mouth.

I would often go over to Jennifer’s house to play and would end up staying for dinner. When I was there, her mom would always make us homemade chicken strips and french fries. It was her special meal that she would make when I was there because she knew how much I loved them. I had never had chicken strips and fries that tasted so out of this world delicious!

Birthday’s were a pretty big deal in our house growing up. My mom, who was also a fantastic cook, would always let us choose what we wanted for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I would choose things like Funnel Cakes for breakfast, and my mom would happily oblige.  Chocolate cake for lunch? Sure… coming right up. One year, whatever year it is when you become a major brat, my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday dinner. When I told her that I wanted homemade chicken strips and french fries she delivered. When she placed my wish meal out on the table, I took one look at the chicken and fries and balked… “I don’t want your chicken strips and fries. I want it to be like the kind Mrs Treiber makes!” Being the age of bratiness, I didn’t take one single bite. Can you imagine how much my mom probably wanted to smack my smug little face? I am sure she was so proud of making exactly what she thought I wanted, and here I go and repay her by being a complete jerk.

I am sure I hurt my moms feelings (sorry mom!), but even after that show of ungratefulness my mom called Mrs Treiber to find out what her secret was. The fries were normal homemade fries, deep fried and salted to perfection. The chicken strips? Schwans. Yep… the chicken strips that I raved and raved about and stabbed my poor mom in the heart about were frozen, deep fried, Schwans chicken strips!

I cannot make homemade french fries of any kind without thinking of Jennifer, her mom and that birthday dinner. I can tell you that tonight, when I sat the fries out on the dinner table, my four year old took one look and said “I thought you said we were having french fries with dinner… I want fries like McDonalds, Mom!”

And what is it they say about paybacks? I have a feeling, I’m about to find out!

Zesty Oven Baked Fries, from Recipezaar

  1. Heat oven to 450°.
  2. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  3. Combine all dry ingredients and combine with potatoes, tossing to coat.
  4. Drizzle with oil, tossing again to coat.
  5. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.
Are you in the mood for homemade french fries? These bloggers have some different variations for you to try! (If you have a homemade french fry recipe that is different, email me the link and I’ll add it here.)
A little bit of housekeeping…
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  • The family has been busy cultivating new talents. Find out which one of us has taken up pole dancing! Dishing it up Family Style is here.

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  1. pat/Mom says

    Oh, how funny. I guess I could say I know just how you feel. What about your cooking chicken strips while I was going to college? Remember we kept the baking soda by the stove to put out the fires. Many times I came home to find the white ceramic tile above the stove somewhat smoked up..although you had tried to clean it up. And now you are a “foodie” and a great cook. Love ya

  2. says

    What a wonderful story. It’s amazing how much of our lives are connected to the foods we eat. I enjoyed that taste of your history.

    On my birthday when I was a kid, I always requested what is still called in our house, “Jamie’s favourite chicken.”

    Jamies last blog post..DIY Entertainment Club

  3. says

    Your post really made me laugh! What can you say to that? I liked having a glimpse into your childhood.

    You may sign me up to adopt someone again, if you like :)

    hollers last blog post..Going Raw

  4. says

    Another fun post… My elementary school cafeteria in Nice, France was awesome… It wasn’t kid food but no one seemed to care because everything was always dripping in excellent olive oil that we could sponge up with yummy bread.
    These fries look wonderful…and I haven’t had any in a while…hmm time to change that.

    Alexas last blog post..Green, Frozen and Delicious: Green Tea Frozen Yogurt

  5. says

    Hey Kristen, cute post!

    I think the age you are referring to is around 12-13… periods (no pun intended) of bratiness (did I spell that right?) seem to be synonymous with the onset of puberty. Wait, it’s 9 in the morning and I just wrote “puberty?” Must get more coffee! 😉

    I wanted to mention that I’m really liking your “a little bit of housekeeping…” bit at the end of your posts. Very handy, useful and an all-around great addition to your blog.

    Sandies last blog post..Going, Going, Don’t Say Gone – Recipe: Strawberry-Rhubarb Coffee Cake

  6. says

    Mmmm…these look so simple and delicious. Yum!

    I love how food can invoke such emotion and memories. My most awesome food memories are of my grandma in the kitchen.

  7. says

    Tater tots from Sonic were my thing. My mom would ask me what I wanted with dinner and I’d say “Tater Tots” only to have those baked nasty things.
    Doesn’t it break your heart to think about the things you put your parents through? I seriously have a little lurch in my heart when I think about some of the horrid things I’m responsible for doing.

    The Cat’s Pajamass last blog post..Take Me Away

  8. says

    I hope Jacob enjoyed his first week of first grade. It is so fun to see all the “old kindergartners” pass my room as they say “hi” and wave. Seems a bit surreal that they aren’t coming into my room.

  9. says

    I did the same thing with my mom once…I loved my friend’s mom’s lasagna even though it was all store bought and my mom’s was from scratch…

    Fries look yummy!

  10. says

    I was a kid back in the day that “Fry Daddys” were popular. My mom would peel and slice potatoes and fry them up, salt them, and drain them on brown paper grocery bags. Those were the best things!! I could never wait for them to cool off before I was eating them! I’d love to have some of those now.

    Alisons last blog post..Another kind of nostalgia


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