Post-Call and Sweet Potato Fries

Medicine makes you tired. Sometimes, too tired.

Back in the day before work hour restrictions (or, in other words, two years ago), all medical students and residents did “call” shifts. To make a long story short, you’d show up for work at 6:30am, stay that entire day and overnight admitting patients, and then complete “post-call rounds” before finally going home. Theoretically, you were limited to being at the hospital for 30 hours. Nowadays, first-year residents are limited to 16 hour shifts and second year residents to 24 hour shifts, so this call system has been replaced by a day shift/night shift system in most places.

However, that isn’t the point of this story. In this case, I was on my pediatrics rotation, had an extremely brutal night with many very sick patients, and at this point had been awake for approximately 32 hours.

I needed to sleep. But first, I needed to eat something (since you don’t eat OR sleep very much on busy nights).

And the only thing I wanted was fries from a place with golden arches. Now, i don’t eat that much fast food, but I was entirely too tired to cook, and I knew that the only thing I had in my fridge that could be readily eaten was yogurt, and that just wasn’t going to cut it.

So I hopped in my car in pursuit of french fries. I ordered at the screen and then had a conversation with the women working the cash register at the first window over the unique design on my credit card.

It wasn’t until I was pulling into the driveway of my apartment complex that I realized that I forgot to stop at the second window to actually pick up my fries.

I then went straight to bed. I obviously was not safe for the road.

I also avoided that fast food restaurant for a while in case they remembered me based on my credit card.

Cook in Your Sleep Sweet Potato Fries

I could cook these while exhausted. However, it’s probably wiser to have someone else cook for you. Don’t want to burn the house down.


  • 1 large sweet potato (serves 2-3 people)
  • Olive oil spray
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger


  1. Peel sweet potato and cut into fry-size pieces. Place into a large bowl and fill with cold water. Let soak for 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Drain sweet potatoes and dry off with a paper towel.
  3. Cover cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray that with olive oil. Place potatoes on pan and spread out in a flat layer. Spray with olive oil. Sprinkle potatoes with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and ginger. Toss to coat on all sides.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, shaking pan to toss once halfway through, until potatoes begin to brown.

I prefer mine with ketchup, but eat however you like.

67 thoughts on “Post-Call and Sweet Potato Fries

  1. These sound delicious – and so simple to make! Don’t feel bad about driving off without your food! I’ve done that wayyy more times than I am willing to admit… and I had had plenty of sleep!

    1. That’s the only time I ever made that mistake. Granted, I also never tried to pick up food again post-call. 😉

  2. I love sweet potato fries. I never thought of making my own. Your recipe looks so easy and definitely more healthy than the frozen variety. Thanks!

  3. These look like they are always well worth the wait! I love sweet potato…anything!

  4. Yeah, I’ve done that too, and it was also from “exhaustion.”

  5. This sounds delicious. I survived on hot chips during my rotation, but I was in England at the time and they were on every corner on the way home.
    I hope your resting when you can.

  6. Those look delicious! I’ve made them with normal potato before (or something quite similar) do they crisp or just become hot and tasty?

    1. If you soak them first they get crisp

      1. That’s where I have failed in the past! Thanks!! 😀

      2. I’ve soaked them up to an hour before. Shaking a few times and spraying them again halfway through with olive oil helps, too.

      3. I’ll have to pick up some sweet potato next time I’m at the grocery store so we can have these. 🙂 I’ll let you know when I make them, and how they turn out!

  7. iammichellepham May 8, 2012 — 9:01 pm

    Hope you are getting a lot of sleep now. Sweet potato fries are my ultimate love – I’ll be back in my kitchen in a few weeks and I’ll give this a try!

  8. These look so yummy!!!! I am definitely making these!
    xo Liz

  9. Never went to med school, but definitely been that tired, such as after flying to Tanzania with a 7 hour layover at Heathrow. Stupid, hallucinatory state of fatigue. The sweet potato fries sound yummy 🙂

  10. I think I’d probably fall asleep during the 20 min soak 😉 but I’m definitely keeping this recipe for more awake times. Thanks!

  11. I love the idea of soaking them first to get extra crispy! Thanks!

  12. Bless your heart. I remember those days 🙂

    When I started residency, duty hour restrictions had just been introduced. I am interested to see where these new restrictions will lead post-grad education. Enjoy your last few months!! 🙂

    P.S. The fries look delish!

  13. Awesome! Good job subconciously avoiding the drive thru!

  14. Looks amazing… gonna try it today! thanks!

  15. I think I know another reason why I went into nursing – I didn’t have to stay up over 24 hours until I actually started working night shift. My father-in-law and brother-in-law both remember these days from their medical training though (the UK version).
    Sweet potato fries – yum. I am going to have to try these. I love roasted sweet potatoes.

    Have you tried making fries from swede (rutabaga)? Equally delicious, especially when sprinkled with paprika. Cut into 1/2 inch thick lengths, steam for about 5 minutes, lay out on a dry kitchen towel to dry. Then either toss in oil and bake, or shallow fry. Sprinkle afterwards with a bit of salt and paprika.

    1. I’ll definitely have to try those!

  16. Reblogged this on PT Courses Blog and commented:
    Being paleo doesn’t mean we can’t look around for ideas. My wife makes these from time to time. I thought we should have a little reminder of how easy they are to make and how good they taste. Start following conventional food blogs and you will find plenty of ideas for eating paleo. Have a great day, CW

  17. Yum! LOVE homemade sweet potato fries 🙂 Looking forward to give these a try on our next burger night…can’t help but pair them with a juicy burger!

  18. NOT eating anything from that drive through “food” outlet is about the best thing you could have done:)

  19. I love sweet potatoes and often baked them like this too … but I have never added nutmeg and ginger which sounds heavenly and will definitely go onto my next batch!

  20. Like sweet potatoes – and I like fries .. so this must be something for me!!! That indecent showed you needed sleep more than the fries.

  21. I’ve nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award. Collect it here:

  22. Sounds very tasty and much better for you then fried russet potatoes. Thanks! : )

  23. I will definitely try those sweet potatoes since I can’t seem to get it right.

  24. I have nominated you for the Sunshine Award.

  25. I loooove sweet potatoe fries and will definitely try these. I rcently heard a tip that the best way to get oven fries super crispy is to heat the cookie sheet (with foil) first so I think I’ll do it that way and let you know how it turns out.

  26. OMG I put an “E” on the end of potato. I swear I know that there is no E!!

  27. Oh my goodness, I love love love sweet potato fries. And this recipe sounds easy enough for me to make. Perfect.

    Also, I am thrilled I won’t have to be doing the whole “on call” thing!

    1. I actually prefer call to the shift system, to be honest. Post-call afternoons where you can get real people things done during business hours were wonderful.

  28. I made sweet potato fries last night too! I love the idea of using ginger and nutmeg! I’m so trying that tonight 😀

  29. I LOVE SWEET POTATO FRIES!! Also, I’m pretty sure I’ve done that wide the ef awake so… yeah. I also lose my sunglasses on top of my head at least once a week.

  30. I will definitely try those sometime! I haven’t driven away from a drive through before but I have left the counter in a store without what I purchased. I love your stories!

  31. These sound amazing! Yum! 🙂

  32. Oh that sound great! I love sweet potatoes!!! And I cannot believe those rounds you had to do!!!! Glad I studied music 🙂 we got to sleep!

  33. I once went into a store, got all my stuff, went to the cash desk to pay, the girl put it all in a bag and I took it and was about to leave when she kindly reminded me that I hadn’t paid. So, well, at least you didn’t look like a thief, just a very tired person 🙂

  34. I shall try that soaking trick – thank you 🙂

  35. Hi! I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog award! 🙂

  36. Funny you posted this, I just made these last night! Sweet Potatoes are one of my favorite foods, and these are the perfect snack.

  37. I love sweet potato fries, and these look really easy to make. Thanks for the recipe!

  38. onlychildprincesses May 10, 2012 — 5:47 am

    I love sweet potato fries and would have never known that they were so simple to make! Mmmm. I see a new favorite snack. 🙂

  39. Loooove sweet potato fries, and I’m with you- they definitely taste better when you’re exhausted or, well, post imbibing, if you will 🙂 and as for driving off with no fries, at least you didn’t stop for gas and then try to drive away still attached to the tank!

  40. wow, looks yummy! and that is hilarious you forgot to go to the second window! at that point i would have went to bedhaha

  41. I love love love sweet potato fries! Will give your recipe a try tonight!

  42. Mmmmm, sweet potatoes! I may have to try those. 🙂

    And thanks for stopping by my blog. Hope you’ll visit often.

  43. Tried them in place of our own, age old recipe this week (with turkey burgers, God’s intended partner for the sweet potato). You win!..enjoyed them a lot and will share the recipe.

  44. you’re a doll if you’ll admit to this mistake. I’d slink around and not tell anyone. It would be confirmation that I am goofy (which I am, but why give them confirmation. May your Mother’s Day be filled with the fat of your cuisine dreams. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I enjoy yours.

  45. Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe =)

  46. Jennifer Suchey May 15, 2012 — 11:18 am

    Hey Domestic Diva. I’m wondering why you soak the sweet potatoes in water before baking. I make sweet potato wedges similar to these, but I don’t soak them first.


    1. It helps to remove some of the starch and makes them crispier.

  47. This story made me miss my younger Navy days!!! I trained with residents and interns (and oblivious attendings 🙂 ). I can remember a case with a very overworked and sleep deprived 2nd year, a tubal reanastamosis! We had the microscope pulled in, the lights dimmed to almost complete darkness and a quiet background setting … bet u know what happened to that poor 2nd year? Yep .. she fell asleep with her eyes in the microscope! Oh the abuse of the mid – late 90’s and medicine bylaws (or lack of).

  48. I love sweet potato fries! Fortunately some of the great burger restaurants in our area have caught on to this variation on the classic. I will always order them hands down over regular fries. Looking forward to trying your homemade version.

  49. If you are going to point out all of the bad that fast food embodies, you have to be fair and point out the good as well. The Arches place nails French fries. They are just spot on.
    Sweet potatoes and I are at a point where they look at me with an I’m-perfect-as-I-am attitude and I look at them with a maybe-diced-and-mixed-with-regular-potatoes-bacon-and-onions-in-a-hash expression. I have never really taken to the things. I’ll give this a try some time, if for no other reason than because my wife loves them.

    1. I never said that I didn’t have an addiction to their fries. The fact that my new apartment is about 300 ft from that establishment might be trouble.

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