Gibby’s Fresh Cut French Fries can only be found in carnivals, festivals and fairs during the summer months. Their cooking process is simple but a bit unique. Freshly cleaned potatoes are sliced, then plunged into a series of six deep fryers. The last dip is this hottest to brown and crisp the creation. The resulting bit of gastronomic heaven is poured dripping golden brown into a paper boat container Then handed over the counter. Veterans of this process grab this scalding hot bunch of spuds with a paper towel and head to the side of the stand for dressing up.
It’s an important choice, to dress or not to dress. These fries are so good many dive in right away. However I make a beeline to the course ground salt and vinegar. Never Ketchup. I always use a good malt vinegar at home but at the county fair all that’s available is white vinegar dispensed with a pump on top of a gallon jug. Sparingly used, the tart and salt seems to spring the taste buds into life. The secret is to eat them while still hot and firm. They don’t age well and will turn into a limp sticky mess quickly.
Gibby’s is a mainstay throughout Michigan and at the Huron County Fair. I always look forward to sharing an order with the kids. Admittedly imbibing in this comes with a tinge of guilt but gives me an excuse to avoid the Tilt-a-Whirl. When doing a little research I was surprised to find that Gibby’s is headquartered in Traverse City has been in operations since the 1940’s and its own fan page on Facebook.