away | Frog takes a dive|
between the Grand Canyon and the Great Pyramids is the eighth wonder of
David Van Meter
At least that's what Candace Vanice '92 contends in her fat-free creation,
8th Wonder Fat Free Fries. And judging from strong supermarket sales across
45 cities and eight states, the 26-year-old inventor may soon affect the
supply of ketchup.
fries are not just another Ore Ida imitation (which incidentally turned
down her offer to manufacture the fries). Vanice uses Yukon Gold potatoes,
crinkle-cutting and soaking them in water. The spud wedges are then dipped
into Vanice's proprietary blend of egg whites and spices and baked for
about 30 minutes.
has it that even the most hardcore McDonald's fry junkie can become accustomed
to the 8th Wonder Fries, much like a heroin-to-methadone program. "Most
people don't realize that potatoes themselves don't contain fat," she
said from her Kansas City home. "Our special coating brings out the flavor
of the potato without adding the unwanted fat."
process took a while to come by, but the motivation came early. A freshman
at TCU, Vanice began to experience the "freshman 15," a temporary weight
gain typically afflicting new female college students. Initially, she
simply kept fried foods at arm's length. She began experimenting with
the fries after she transferred to the University of Kansas to be with
her future husband, Jonathan. A vinegar spice concoction. A milk-based
method. Then she remembered her grandmother, who would cover the tops
of her homemade bread with an egg-white glaze, making it both shiny and
later, Vanice had perfected her fry.
created them, I didn't intend to put them on the market, I just ate them
at home with my friends," she said. "It wasn't like I was in the kitchen
making them nonstop." In fact, Vanice was hard at work as a mathematician
number cruncher for insurance companies, measuring their risk, not realizing
she was about to take one of her own.
her husband, who owns a landscaping business, have taken a leap of faith
financially and won't even begin to see proceeds from her potato product
for some time. Vanice travels three days a week promoting her product,
the rest of the week putting her mathematics degree to work juggling the
finances of her fledgling business. Tasting her invention, the numbers
seem to add up to success.
the time, I'm just amazed that I was able to do this," Vanice said. "I
knew so little going in, and I still have a lot to learn."
with a plate of the latest wonder and a pile of the Golden Arches' brand
she used to crave, Vanice easily denies the temptation.
"I eat mine,"
she said, "because after I eat a big plate of my fries, I've eaten something
that still tastes great. . . and I don't feel guilty."