Fried Potatoes vs. French Fries
McDonald's sells French Fries, really good French Fries if you ask me, but these are not French Fries; these are fried potatoes. I am from the South, so we know a thing or two about fried potatoes.
The first thing you should notice is fried potatoes are not stick thin. They are a bit chunkier than McDonald's French Fries. You can either peel them or not. They fry up pretty well either way. I have cooked them both ways before, and it just depends on my mood. Peeling is a bit more work. Unpeeled works if I am in a hurry or feeling particularly lazy. If you leave them unpeeled, be sure to rinse them well. Once they are rinsed, be sure to dry them off before putting them in the hot oil. Wet potatoes and hot oil do not a happy chef make--they will pop grease all over you and burn you, eek!
The next thing you need to know is that your oil (just enough to cover the potatoes) should be screamin' hot, and you shouldn't invite everyone to the party. In other words, don't crowd the pan. Look at that pan--doesn't everyone look happy? Cook the potatoes in a couple of batches. If you put them all in the pan, they will stick and clump together. Some will be crispy and others will be mushy clumps. I add some salt and pepper once I put them in the oil. Some people toss them with salt and pepper before they put them in the oil. Some just salt them after they are done cooking, but I like to add the seasonings just after I put them in the oil.