In this book, Rick Browne promises to teach the reader how to "deep-fry just about anything that walks, crawls, flies or vegetates." That's almost a scary prospect, but he dives into the subject with his trademark zest and gusto. As he writes in his introduction:
Deep-fat frying has been with us almost as long as the discovery that fire would make raw meat taste a whole lot better. In fact, cooking food in various oils or fats is still the only method used in some countries, societies, and single-guy apartments.
. . .
Our aim here is to demystify the process and reveal the culinary delights of this style of cooking. But recently a pall has been spread over the world of deep-frying, spawned by a few vocal, overzealous, and overprotective folks who think those of us who have, or wish to purchase, deep-frying equipment don't have the brains God gave a newt.
Sure, there are safety issues so you won't burn down your garage, deck, or house. But all of those, and I do mean all, can be addressed and dismissed with a lbieral application of what we Americans are best known for (in most cases anyway): common sense.
Oh my gosh, it's deep frying as the latest libertarian cause!
Well, in application of common sense, then, Browne turns to frying basics first: providing deep-frying tips, determining the amount of oil needed, time and temperature guidelines, and other similar tips.
Then he turns to the recipes themselves, beginning with appetizers such as Acadian Popcorn (fried crawfish), beer-battered onion rings (it's downright difficult to beat a good onion ring), frickles (fried pickles - not sure about this, but according to Browne's website it's a fan favorite), and spring rolls. There's a section on breads and pastries - what is better than a deep-fried ball of dough, after all? There's Bengali fried dough wafers, Grand Marnier beignets, nan bread (gotta love that Indian food), "cowboy bread," Navajo fry bread, sopaipillas, johnnycakes, and more. The section on poultry offers extensive tips on a current "hot trend" in deep frying: turkeys. Having eaten a deep-fried turkey in the past, I can testify that it's pretty good, but I guess I'm not that excited about it. There are other methods that produce exceptionally tasty birds as well, and they don't involve gallons of boiling oil.