Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Mighty Potato

I love potatoes.

I have an unnatural obsession with them.

On a personal note, this all started two years ago when I had to write a short play based on a recipe for french fries which became a multi-country/multi-era riff on the history of the potato - The Potato Play: A Brief & Innacurate History - and just about every project I've worked on since has been connected in some way to the potato. In fact, The Potato Play was produced this past September at a potato-themed fundraiser in England (the U.N. named 2008 the Year of the Potato) and I just received an apron with potatoes on it as a thank-you for the rights to the play.

But I digress. I am back with Mabel and am looking at her recipes. She opens her chapter on vegetables with, naturally, the potato.

She writes:

Why is potato so valuable a food?
1. It is easy to cultivate.
2. It can be kept through the winter.
3. It is easy to prepare as a food.
4. Potatoes give us the needed bulk rather than any large amount of nutritive value. Because potatoes lack protein they should be used with meat or fish or eggs in combination with milk and cheese. Potatoes are cheaper when bought by the quantity, and as they keep well, should not be purchased in small amounts unless necessary.

Even in 1917 they were advocating for potato skins!
"...if we peel a potato before boiling it we lose a great deal of this good mineral matter with the peeling."

There are a number of recipes for potatoes along with tips on how to rejuvinate old potatoes. Recipes include:
Baked Potato
Browned Potatoes
Baked Creamed Potatoes (use leftover potatoes!)
Mashed Potatoes
Rivc Potatoes (using a potato-ricer)
Creamed Potatoes with Cheese
Fried Potatoes
Another Creamed Potatoes with Cheese
Potato Pancake

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