Another good comment comes in this morning from a reader:
I do believe you when you say that fried items aren’t unhealthy just because they’re fried. But doesn’t it depend on how you fry them? If what you say about temperatures and the age of the oil are correct, it would seem smarter to eat fried foods at home. I can’t imagine that fairs or even restaurants would do such a good job at it.
Indeed so. You never know how old the oil might be in any restaurant (or food stall) fryer. Just this past weekend I had some of the best french fries I’d eaten in years — at a little no-name restaurant in rural Kentucky. They were better than the vast majority of the frites I’ve eaten in fancy, big-city bistros. A big part of the reason: because they really knew how to handle their oil. However it just goes to show that as in most things culinary, good frying is an art best practiced at home.