Potatoes, Bland and Beautiful
Marty Martindale

Potatoes, especially mashed potatoes, automatically become a backdrop for do-it-yourself POTATOESfun projects. They so readily enhance additives like  lobster meat, blue cheese, chopped greens, nuts, fruits and other vegetables. Restaurants, in particular, tend to compete in this area.

Thousands of varieties of potatoes exist, but the commonest used in the U.S. are Yukon Golds, russets, reds and whites. None are eaten raw. They are also members of the nightshade tribe along with tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and tomatillos.

Potatoes are a favorite comfort food in almost all cultures and

harvested somewhere in the world all year long. China currently grows the most followed by India. The crop is the world’s fourth-largest after corn, wheat and rice.

Early Peruvian Inca Indians were credited with breeding hundreds of varieties of potatoes between 8,000 and 5,000 BCE. This crop has the ability to grow at high, cold altitudes, and they devised a way to freeze-dry them for prolonged storage.

By the 1840s , after potatoes moved from South America into Europe over to the United Kingdom, a major outbreak of potato blight, a plant disease, swept through Europe, especially striking Ireland’s poor class resulting in a million people starving to death or illness and another million fleeing to North America.

Continue reading