Kids will come in and order "french fries for five euros" and will be handed a large family size paper bag filled to the rim with golden fried potatoes to take home and have it served as the starch for dinner. The glass case is filled with raw or precooked meat items such as hotdogs, frikandellen, kroketten, bitterballen, bereklauwen, all piled up in neat stacks from which to choose.
And the fries do not come without choice either: whereas the shape may vary only slightly (steak fries, french fries or shoestring), the amount of sauces and condiments to douse these golden spears with is vast: apart from the traditional mayonnaise (just try it), you can also choose curry ketchup (a spiced up type of ketchup), tomato ketchup, mustard, piccalilli, peanut sauce, joppiesaus (a fairly newcomer to the market of fry sauces, it's flavored with yellow curry). ...and then there are ofcourse the combinations: patatje met ( "fries with", meaning fries with mayo), patatje oorlog ("war fries": fries with mayo, peanut sauce and chopped onion), patatje speciaal (mayo, curry ketchup and chopped onion), patatje stoofvlees (french fries with a savory stewed beef sauce).....
Fries are traditionally prepared in ossewit (beef tallow) or less commonly so, horse fat. During the seventies, the saturated fats were replaced by vegetable fat such as Diamant, and most patatkramen stepped away from the tallow. It impacted the fry fat industry positively, and a myriad of television ads appeared, praising the qualities of vegetable fat and pushing moms to serve patat at least once a week. To this day, Wednesday's dinner is usually patat with a side choice.
The secret to crispy, golden french fries is to fry the taters twice. Once to par-fry them, if you will, then let them rest, and finish it off with a second fry to crisp the outer skin and bring out the golden colors. The traditional potato to use for fries is the Bintje. In the United States, choose a white or yellow potato, preferably starchy, like a Russet, since Bintjes are practically non-existent here. Since beef tallow is hard to come by, use canola oil for frying instead.
Peel the potatoes and slice in inch thick slices, then cut in strips. Heat the oil to 325F. Rinse the potatoes (removing some of the starch will prevent the fries browning prematurely and ending up with a bitter taste) and dry in a cotton towel. Fry in small batches until lightly golden. Remove from the oil and rest the potatoes in a colander for about 25 minutes, then heat the oil to 375F and fry again, in small batches, until the fries are golden. Toss with salt.