Well, crispiness…(sorry for the shameless attempt to prevent this thread from sinking to the bottom of the boards)…

Vegetables are crisp because of the water content. A stalk of celery wilts, what do you do? Put it in a glass of water to stiffen it up. Leave the greens on carrots? They get floppy faster than rabbits breed.

On the other hand, fried things are crispy because (I believe) the water content boils off, and is replaced by oil. If in fact that’s true, how can water and lack of water cause crispiness? I suppose it must have something to do with the cell structure??? Or not???

[Moderator watch ON]
johnson, you’re lucky I’m in a good mood tonight… That topic line almost guaranteed that your post would sink to the bottom of the board, as I was >< this close to closing it. If you want to try to make a topic sound more interesting, you can, of course, but don’t try to make the thread sound like something it’s not, and especially don’t try to make a topic more interesting by stirring up negative feelings folks might have. I’ve changed the topic this time, but I will not do so again.
[Moderator watch OFF]

Now, then, since I’m here anyway, I can answer part of your actual question. Water makes vegetables crispy because of something called “turgor pressure”. Basically, the plant’s cells aren’t too rigid on their own, and are somewhat like floppy bags of liquid. However, if the cells are all filled to capacity with water, they can’t deform much, without compressing or losing some of the liquid. This is also, for instance, why a plastic pop bottle becomes rigid when shaken up, and I’m sure you can think of a few other examples of objects which gain stiffness from internal hydraulic pressure.

<<clever (?) comments deleted…thank goodness for preview>>

The worst thing is that there’s 15 or so Dopers wondering “what the hell does ‘Well, crispiness…(sorry for the shameless attempt to prevent this thread from sinking to the bottom of the boards)’ mean? There’s johnson, babbling nonsensically again.”

Be that as it may…thanks for the answer (and the rest), Chronos. The second part of the question anyone? I suppose another way to ask is, when bread becomes stale, it’s because it dries out. But when potato chips are stale, it’s because they’re soggy. What gives?

The celery starts out crisp and at some point becomes limp but later on gets hard.

The bread starts out soft but when stale gets crispy, and then hard.

The potato chip starts out soft, and gets fried until crsip.
When the chip is stale it gets soggy, BUT… if left alone long enough it gets hard.

I don’t know what the answer to your question is but it seems that when the water is gone everything gets hard.

I think I’ll go with that cells packed untill plump thing on the vegetables and say that the fried things have had the moisture removed from the surface of the object giving it a crispy outside with a tender juicy inside.

[sub]Will somebody please tell me why I seem to be sitting here eating potato chips and celery, and planning on cooking fried chicken for supper? Is it that “subliminal advertising” thing again? I thought Cecil said that doesn’t work…[/sub]

When fruits and vegetables lose water, they get soft.
When protein loses water, it gets hard.
When baked carbohydrates lose water, they get hard.
When fried carbohydrates gain water, they get soft.

When Southern Californians lose water, they get shut down.

I wish I could help answer your question, but, unfortunately, I can’t. I just felt obligated to post here because of my screen name. May the crispiness live on.