This recipe is part of a Cuban-Style Christmas: Mojito, Garlic Plantain Chips, Lime, Garlic, and Oregano Mojo, Avocado Salad, Gloria's Black Bean Soup, Crab Empanadas with Pickled Garlic-Caper Remoulade and Roasted Pork Marinade.
1. Heat the oil to 350 degrees in a deep fryer or heavy-bottomed saucepan. Immediately add the plantain chips one at a time, but do not overload the pan or the oil will not stay enough. (Cook in batches if necessary.) Deep-fry until golden, 3 or 4 minutes.
2. Remove the chips with wire-mesh strainer and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with the salt and garlic powder and let cool.
Richard Wrangham, a professor at Harvard University and author of Catching Fire, studies the role of cooking in human evolution. "Once you start thinking about the importance of cooking -- its supply of energy, its strange distribution compared to natural foods -- it's bound to have affected our evolution hugely, our behavior, our society, our cognition, all sorts of features about us," he says.