HEATED DEBATE: Should You Eat French Fries Before, During, Or After A Meal?


Uproxx writers Brian Grubb and Allison Sanchez both love a good burger and fries, but they have vastly different ideas as to when and how you should eat those fries.

The following is a transcript of a conversation that we found on an old tape recorder in the woods. From what we can piece together from security footage, emails, texts, and friends/family, Brian and Allison headed into the forest on a Tuesday afternoon to settle the debate once and for all. They were never seen again.

And so, one of our century’s greatest mysteries was born, though for our purposes we’re going to focus on the French fry thing.


The important thing to remember here is that I’m not crazy. I’m not. Everything I’m about to say is reasoned and logical and based on years of immersive research. There will probably be a point, perhaps immediately after reading the first sentence of the next paragraph, where you’ll say “This guy is a maniac.” But again, I’m not. I’m normal. Just hear me out.

When you order a burger and french fries, you should eat all of the fries first. Every one of them, or at least as many as you plan to eat, which is probably all of them, because who can stop eating fries. My reasons are simple and can be explained in five bullet points:

  • Fries get cold faster than burgers.
  • Cold fries are gross.
  • Hot crispy fries straight from the fryer are super good.
  • A burger is sometimes actually better if it sits for a few minutes because the meat rests and the cheese melts and it all kind of settles together, especially if you get it from a place that wraps it in foil because then everything gets all gooey.
  • I am not crazy.

Thank you. I await your rebuttal.


Thank you, Brian. I guess, the first thing I’d like to point out is that when someone insists multiple times they are “not crazy,” they are almost definitely crazy. Like there’s nearly no chance that they aren’t going through some sort of ballerina-induced breakdown or just made a “new friend” who has a fight club or are Matchbox Twenty (I’d say about 90 percent of the time your coworker does secretly turn out to be late-90s, Orlando-based band, Matchbook Twenty).

“But what about the other times?” you ask. You have to think that there are at least a few instances in which said “crazy-denier” is the only sane one in an insane world, right? And Brian has some compelling evidence. Maybe he’s right.

Well, let’s look at some evidence. I don’t know if you’ve been following the news recently, but, as of late, some people have begun to suspect that our president may be something less than a “very, stable genius.” And you know what else our president has in common with Mr. Grubb?

Let’s take a gander at the picture below of President Trump kickin’ it with a burger and fries:

Via Instagram/@realdonaldtrump


Via Instagram/@realdonaldtrump

Do you see that perfectly intact burger? Those nearly-gone fries? Donald Trump, who also claims to not be crazy, eats his fries first, and THEN starts in on the burger. What a coincidence.

And your first clue that this practice is not only monstrous, but it is indeed filled with malice.

That’s bullet point one. Here are my other four:

  • Everyone knows that you must take one bite of each food on your plate at the start of any meal. This is to determine that the best food is not eaten all at once, thus leaving you to eat more mediocre fare (full of regret) for the rest of the meal and forcing you to have a negative feeling (or bad taste in your mouth, if you will) about the entire experience.
  • The saltiness of the fries paired with the savory nature of the burger makes them the perfect mates! And this beautiful marriage of the fry bringing out the best of the burger can only be had when. bites. alternate.
  • It’s not cost effective. Fries are wonderful. I WOULD NEVER SPEAK AGAINST FRIES. But let’s face it, you’re paying for the burger. If you fill up on fries before you get to your delicious burger, you may not finish the more expensive part of your meal. And everyone knows burgers are so-so at best (but usually terrible) when warmed back up as leftovers. You’re going to waste like a third of your burger at its peak because you filled up on fries first? Foolish.
  • A desire for diversity of food is one of the things that make us most human. We crave different things to provide different delights. We’re not dogs devouring the same bowl night after night. We’re no cows happily chewing grass from the same meadow day after day. By eating a pile of fries one after another, are we not reducing ourselves to unthinking beasts with little imagination?

So I guess you can eat your fries all at once like an animal (or as Brian Grubb undoubtedly calls it “like a stable genius”) but wouldn’t you rather eat like a normal, rational, patient human being (with no nuclear launch codes) and have your fries a few at a time. Followed by a bite of burger?


I think a story will help explain my point. Once upon a time, there was a great thinker. And this great thinker, he had a crazy idea. It made sense, and all the logic and science checked out, but the world was just not ready. People yelled at him. They berated and threatened him. They spouted off pseudoscientific hooey based on their old, simplistic ways of thinking. But the great thinker knew he was right and refused to back down and centuries later historians all agreed he was right all along and unjustly persecuted by the small-minded masses.

Do you know who that great thinker was, Allison? I’ll tell you. It was me, just a little earlier, when I said all that stuff about eating the fries first. Jesus Christ. Were you even listening?

You know what? I’m going to double down. You know when you get drive-thru or takeout and the restaurant just tosses the burger and fries in a bag or a styrofoam container and sends you on your merry way? You should rip that sucker and eat the fries on the way home. While you’re driving. Safety be damned. Or take an Uber. If you wait, even just five minutes, the steam created by the heat of the food will cause condensation and make the fries soggy. Soggy! Completely unacceptable.

The gulf in quality between a fresh, hot, crispy french fry and a soggy limp one is so wide that it would take multiple lifetimes to traverse on foot. Generations of your family left behind on the path, their lifeless bodies rotting and decaying at widely-spaced intervals as your great-great-great-great grandchildren finally reach the endpoint of a journey that no one they know remembers the beginning of. They look up and see the sun, the same sun they’ve seen every day, in the same sky, but somehow it all feels different now. Like their life had a purpose all along. They feel… complete. At ease. Then they eat crispy fries and they rest so deeply that it satisfies their ancestors’ fatigue.

Or something like that.

And regarding the Trump thing. I disagree with the man on almost every substantive and non-substantive issue anyone could ever think of, but he did once pose for a picture with Liberace while Liberace pretended to feed a candy cane to a life-size stuffed polar bear. They say a broken clock is right twice a day. Maybe the fry thing and Liberace picture are his two. Maybe I just wanted an excuse to link to that picture. Who knows? The point here is that I’m right.


When my husband and I are in the mood for fast food, we almost always go to Chick-fil-A. (Sometimes we realize we are in this mood on a Sunday and this is the worst thing that could ever happen to a person and involves literal tears, but I digress). Then, we wait in a very long line in Hollywood, and we order our spicy chicken sandwiches, waffle fries, and milkshakes. We get the exact same thing, but before we are done (and this is important), I say, “PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PUT THE ORDERS IN SEPARATE BAGS”.

And look, in most aspects of our lives, we share everything: our child, our home, our bank accounts. What’s mine is yours, I say. I would take a bullet for him and he for me. We hope to die curled in each other’s arms sharing one single breath as our last moment on this very Earth. But what I will not do (the one thing I will never do) is share a fast food bag that has fries in it with him.

This is because he does, as you say, eat the entire bag of fries immediately. The bag lands and his hand is reaching in like a zombie grabbing our hero’s leg just as we think they’re safe. There’s a slight sense of happiness, we have the food! But then the hand comes, into the bag, grabbing, tearing, and consuming everything in its path. He takes those fries and eats them all, without so much as even pausing to dip them in ketchup or barbecue sauce. And it leaves him with only his sandwich to eat when he gets home.

I, on the other hand, roll my bag up tight so the heat doesn’t escape. It’s ten minutes, Brian. Fries don’t get soggy and cold that quickly. Then I walk inside, clutching my precious meal and get a plate. There, I unwrap my sandwich, pour out my fries, open a bbq sauce, and settle in for a delicious meal while watching a wonderful television program.

But if I don’t have a separate bag? Were my husband and I to share a bag with two fries inside? Well, who knows where his consumption will end? Sure, he just eats out of “his” box. But what of the fries that spill into the bottom? What if he does an accidental pull from the other box? “Not a big deal,” you might think. “It’s just a fry or two.”


There was a Stanford study in the 60s where they took a bunch of preschoolers and put a marshmallow in front of them. Then, they gave them a choice. Have one marshmallow now or wait 20 minutes and you can have two marshmallows. They studied the kids and found the ones who delayed their gratification in order to get a greater reward later were more successful (had higher SAT scores, less likely to have behavioral issues, Also, looked like supermodels….could move things with their minds….invented time travel, blah, blah, blah. Standard stuff.) And I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that those who can’t wait for their fries would be in the one marshmallow group — sinking into that sweet, initial sugar rush like a comfy couch while denying themselves the better gain.

Here’s what I think: I think that there is a better future out there that you will never see. One with comingling fries and burger. And all the marshmallows you can eat. And probably, world peace. And yet, you wait for nothing, eating your fries right away, never knowing how to reach the full potential of the meal. Never seeing that glimmering, shining future in which pure happiness exists. So, I guess I have to say, the person you’re really hurting here is yourself. All of you “first fry eaters” are only hurting yourselves.


Allison: Okay, Brian, Now that this is settled and I definitely won, I have a follow-up question for science. This is making wonder, do you eat your fries one at a time? Or do you prefer several in one bite? I’m a one at a time fry gal, myself.

Brian: It depends on the thickness of the fry and what, if anything, I’m dipping it in. You see, if you h-

[a low, rumbling growl is heard in the distance, followed by a beast-like roar and screams, and then silence]