I have been a fan of French Fries for my whole life. However, in the last decade or so I have discovered that fries can be much more than a fast food. "Gourmet" fries can be found in many high-end, fine dining restaurants and they can be incredible! I had high hopes that a cookbook that is dedicated to French Fries would at least mention some of the things being done with the food by the cutting edge culinary elite of the world. It didn't happen here.
The book is divided into just 5 chapters: Introduction; Basic Fry Recipes, French Fry Favorites; International Fries; Dips and Sauces. It was while I read the introduction that I was first disappointed by this book. In discussing which oils to use the author briefly mentions that "In times past, beef tallow was considered the most delicious natural fat in which to cook fries." He goes on the say that with our increased understanding of the health effects of different fats, vegetable-based oils are now preferred. Yes, if you are going to eat French Fries (or any other fried food) on a regular basis you should be very cautious of what you cook them in. However, many people now pass on ordinary French Fries and save their desire for something truly special.
If you try Googling "duck fat fries" you will come up with thousands and thousands of articles and recipes and dozens of videos. In France and Belgium one of the more traditional fats used for fries is horse fat (don't hate me for saying this, but true fry experts say that it makes for the tastiest fries ever.) When I discovered that these alternatives are not even mentioned my hopes for a great French Fry cookbook were diminished.
Except for about 6-8 recipes (including "The Essential Fry" which gives the proper method for double cooking the fries) I found little of interest or value. I have to admit that a few of the recipes were just awful looking. I was also surprised that most of the recipes simply used the basic fry recipe and then just add stuff, including eggs, chicken, steak, cheese, onions, etc. There are also recipes for onion rings and green bean and asparagus fries. The herbs and seasonings used in the recipes tended to be ordinary and (at least for me) uninspiring. Except for a few recipes I didn't see as much use of fresh herbs to flavor the fries as I would have expected, something that is very common in restaurants now. The chapter on sauces was just O-K and could have really used a recipe for fresh, homemade mayonnaise instead of relying on the store-bought variety (you really can't compare the two.)
The photography (which is also by the author of the book, Zac Williams) is fairly professional and well executed but the paper stock chosen by the publisher makes them appear dull and lacking proper contrast.
This might be a fine cookbook for casual home use, although I think that the book really misses the mark and could have been much, much more. If you are a true foodie looking for some exciting, new French Fry ideas, I suggest that you keep looking.