The 2 biggest issues I had with frying were the thermometer and what to do with the oil. I tried all kinds of thermometers that clipped on to the side of the pan, but sometimes I used a wok, and they wouldn't work. And they would sometimes suddenly shift and be in danger of falling into the hot oil. Once I got the hand held IR thermometer, that issue went away. I like to use peanut oil. I have 2 jars, I keep the used oil in. A 2 quart jar for frying fish and a 1 quart jar for frying vegetables. Once the oil is cool, I filter it through a wire sieve and it goes back in the jar. I top each jar off with fresh peanut oil, before I use it again. I like to heat the oil up to 375 F and try to only add enough of whatever is being fried such that the temp does not fall below 350 F.
One of my favorite things is fried zucchini. I think those would be an instant hit as a bar food just about anywhere. So easy to make, but yet so very good and crisp. Add a little salsa or a bit of spicy ranch dressing dip or lemon and garlic aioli and they would please just about any crowd. I think they also go very well with breakfast.
The French fries are a different method, I learned from @Shelby. Starting off with cool oil and gradually raising the temp until they acquire a golden brown color.
I do remember the Florence Henderson bit. I hardly ever fry chicken though.