Want Fries With That? Yes, Yes I Do

by Kevin Burton

   Just learned that I missed out on a big, big opportunity this year and I’m just sick about it.

   I love stories about people getting second chances and making it all work out. Happy endings. Sometimes though it’s just too late.

   My big chance came from Idaho in February, but I didn’t know about it until yesterday. 

   The fine people from the Idaho Potato Commission produced and sold around Valentine’s Day, perhaps the greatest perfume ever to hit the nostrils of mankind. They wrote about it on their website under the headline, “Love is in the air…and it Smells like French Fries.”

   “The Idaho Potato Commission has bottled one of the world’s most irresistible scents, fresh Idaho Potato French fries, just in time for Valentine’s day.” The article reads.

   This was beyond exciting to me. This was a magic elixir, not to ingest, but to smell.  It would be like having my wife Jeannette spray a little of that Love Potion Number 9 behind her ears.   I kept reading:

   “Frites by Idaho is a limited-edition fragrance available only on the IPC website.”

   “Limited edition…how limited,” I thought, hoping against hope to get my hands on a bottle. I thought of the joy it would bring to my lovely bride to have such a perfume in her collection.

   My fingers raced to the website, clicked “shop” then “products.”  From there I got a screen with a list of options. The second was “fragrance.”

   I clicked, then read, “No products were found matching your selection.” 

   My heart sank. 

   Why couldn’t they take “fragrance” off the website if there is nothing available?


   It’s only the best for my wife, and this would have been the best. This would have been like winning the husband gift Super Bowl and being named MVP. 

   I felt a great emptiness, like having French fry expectant fingers touch only the bottom of a grease-soaked cardboard box and the odd grain of salt.

  No fries, no perfume, no dice.

   I can imagine Jeannette at bunco night, gushing “You know what my Kevin got for me…” 

   This makes me feel like a failure as a blogger, but even more as a husband. Because I’m belatedly getting a story, but the opportunity for French fry perfume has vanished into thin air. 

   “A recent national survey conducted by Pollfish, reveals that nearly 90 percent of Americans find the smell of French fries irresistible,” the website reads. 

   “Frites by Idaho is made from distilled Idaho Potatoes and essential oils. The 1.7 ounce crystalline bottle retails for $1.89, about the price of a large order of French fries,” wrote the IPC. 

   If you are reading this post and you have a bottle of Frites by Idaho, I will buy it from you for a sum quite a bit higher than $1.89. Get in touch. Let’s talk.

   There is love behind my desire to score this amazing perfume for my wife, and science behind why it would have been such a big hit.

   “Believe it or not, scientists have analyzed the aromas of fries and found as many as nine different smells comprising the French fry smell we all know and love,” reads an article on the website of MTI Products, a company that sells kitchen equipment such as ventless deep fryers.

  “What aromas are French fries comprised of? You may be shocked to hear that a Leeds University study found nine aromas, including butterscotch, cocoa, onion, cheese, and even ironing boards!” the article reads.

   “They also found that lightly cooked or under cooked fries only contained three simple aromas including bitter cocoa.”

   “The Leeds University research was completed as part of National Chip Week in 2009, led by Dr. Graham Clayton of the Department of Food Science,” MTI wrote. “His analysis included both laboratory testing as well as human focus groups, which allowed them to really pinpoint what made fries smell so good.”

   “To determine the unique aromas, the scientists collected the scent from cooked fries and then separated the different compounds to be examined by an ‘aroma-meter’ machine, (more formally known as Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry) a method used to isolate foods into their base elements.”

   “The aromas that were able to be detected by the human nose were sniffed by the focus groups to document the type of scent and strength of each aroma. The results showed that the fries that had been cooked twice had a more complex smell, comprising bitter cocoa, butterscotch, cheese, earthy potatoes, onions, and flowers.”

   The capitalists who sell us things to give each other on Valentine’s Day, also invented Sweetest Day. Have you heard of that one? It’s the third Saturday of October, Oct. 16 this year.

   It’s a total contrivance, a cynical money grab and worse. But I pray the Idaho potato people will give some of us who missed out on the sweet smell of marital success seven months ago, a second chance at happiness.


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