A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 07, 2011
Shoestring Potatoes (Shoestring Fries)

"Shoestring potatoes” (or “shoe string potatoes” or “shoe-string potatoes") are long and slender potatoes that are deep fried. The potatoes literally look like shoestrings, hence the name.

“Shoestring potatoes” has been cited in print since at least 1883. “Shoestring fries” (shoestring french fried potatoes) has been cited in print since at least 1965. Shoestring potatoes are sometimes called “matchstick potatoes.” Potato sticks are made with shoestring/matchstick potatoes.


wiseGEEK
What are Shoestring Potatoes?
Shoestring potatoes are potatoes which have been julienne cut and deep fried so that they are crispy. They are commonly eaten as a snack food, much like potato chips, although they may also be served like French fries. They are also sometimes called potato sticks, depending on the region of the world that they are found in. Many markets carry shoestring potatoes in their snack aisles, and they can also be made at home with the assistance of a deep fryer.

The Free Dictionary
shoe·string (shstrng)
n.
1. See shoelace.
2. A small sum of money; capital that is barely adequate: a company that started on a shoestring.
adj.
1. Long and slender: shoestring potatoes.
2. Marked by or consisting of a small amount of money: a shoestring budget.

(Oxford English Dictionary
shoe-string potato n. U.S. a julienne potato (see julienne n. 2) (chiefly pl.).
1906 ‘H. McHugh’ Skiddoo! ii. 30 The next course was French fried potatoes with some shoe-string potatoes on the side.
1940 Amer. Mercury Sept. 72 Old Fred Harvey started turning a shoestring potato into a 2500-mile of railroad eating-places.
1976 U. Curtiss Birthday Gift xv. 141 As fruitless as looking for shoestring potatoes in strange supermarkets.

Google Books
The Chicago Herald Cooking School
By Jessup Whitehead
Chicago, IL: The authors
1883
Pg. 21:
65—Frizzed or Shoestring Potatoes.
Raw potatoes cut into shreds and fried.

The cook is not always to blame for the poor appearance of fried potatoes, there being a great difference in the quality of the potatoes raw. A watery, waxy potato never has the bright appearance and crisp floury taste when fried that a dry potato has, no matter how carefully the frying may be done. Pare your potatoes, slice them thin and cut in shreds anywhere in thickness from a shoestring to a pencil, only all alike, and the longer the better. Throw them into hot frying fat or lard and let fry three or four minutes.

The infalliable rule to know when fried potatoes are done is this: When first thrown into the fat they sink, when done they rise and float. After that it is only a question of how much color when they should be taken out. Drain well in a strainer. Dredge fine salt over and a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

Chronicling America
18 June 1889, Omaha (NE) Daily Bee, pg. 2, col. 2:
Shoestring Potatoes.
(Menu item—ed.)

20 December 1891, St. Louis (MO) Republic, pt. 3, pg. 25:
TWENTY-SIX POTATOES.
Potatoes Boiled, Fried, Baked,
Sauteed and Hashed, and
Many Other Kinds.

(...)
FRIED POTATOES.
The fried potato has had much opprobrium to bear, much, indeed, that it has not deserved. A properly fried potato is not greasy, is not indigestible, is not unhealthy. Potatoes should be fried exactly like croquettes, in boiling fat, that is, sweet white lard melted, and should be drained in the same manner as the croquette. They may be cut into ballas and fried; then they are Parisian potatoes and esteemed elegant and go to club dinners and swell luncheons. They may be sliced in quarters; then they are French potatoes and a hotel dainty; they may be sliced in the most wafer-like of slices, becoming the Saratoga potato, known to commerce, not elegant because so associated with barrels in the groceries, but properly prepared in a private family, very delicious; they may be sliced into ribbons and be more genteel; they may be sliced into small long pieces, very like their name, and be called shoestring potatoes, then they are really the most perfect form of fried potato, crisp and tender; or combined in their delightsome shapes; or they may be sliced in thicker rounds and sauteed—but that is not frying!
(By Octave Thanet—ed.)

Chronicling America
10 December 1893, Salt Lake Herald (Salt Lake City, UT), pg. 14, col. 4 ad:
Shoestring Potatoes
(The Grand European Cafe—ed.)

3 December 1896, Minneapolis (MN) Journal, pg. 7:
Shoestring Potatoes
(Menu item—ed.)

Google Books
Kentucky Receipt Book
By Mary Harris Frazer
Louisville, KY: Press of the Bradley & Gilbert Company
1903
Pg. 128:
Shoe String Potatoes
Pare potatoes, cut in thin narrow strips, put in cold water 1 hour. Dry on a cloth and fry in hot fat a straw color.

15 October 1916, San Jose (CA) Mercury News, Home and Farmer Section, pg. 11:
Shoestring Potatoes.
Potatoes cut in long, narrow strips and prepared by the above recipe are called Julienne or shoestring potatoes.

18 August 1965, Long Beach (CA) Press-Telegram, pg. A29 ad:
ORE-IDA FROZEN GOLDEN/FRIES
OR CRINKLE CUTS 16-OZ. OR
SHOESTRING OR/COTTAGE
FRIES 12.-OZ.
Potatoes 3 PKGS. $1
(Market Basket—ed.)

31 May 1967, Ottawa (KS) Herald, pg. 6, col. 7 ad:
Orgen (sic) Ida Potatoes
SHOESTRING FRIES
(E-Z Shop—ed.)
3 20 Oz. Pkgs. $1.00

4 September 1973, Hayward (CA) Daily Review, pg. 5, col. 1 ad:
LYDEN FARMS
FROZEN
POTATOES
Choice of Steak House Fries, Shoe String Fries, of Hash Browns
(PayLess Super Drug Stores—ed.)

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Friday, January 07, 2011 • Permalink