It seems like potatoes manifest themselves in almost every culture in some way, shape, or form. Of course, the largest contributor to this undeniable popularity is the simplicity in which potatoes can be cultivated and readily available, but in a day and age where grocery shelves are filled to the brim with a plethora of satiating choices, why is it that potatoes are still amongst the most popular items to buy?
Simply put, it’s because they are DELICIOUS. An extended explanation would point out that they can be grown in almost any climate, whether it be arid or tropical; they provide more nutritious sustenance faster and on less land than any other crop in the world, and they can be utilized to make just about any type of dish: cold, hot, fried, baked, sliced, dished, even alcoholic!
Around the world potatoes have been utilized in a number of ways…
China, the leading producer of the potato crop, has utilized the potato using more traditional cooking methods. It’s common to find diced or julienned potatoes in an assortment of stir-fries, steamed buns, stews, and more! Often paired with miso, soy, and/or sesame oil.
In Ireland you are sure to come across a rich and creamy Potato and Leek Soup, or the leftover lover’s dream dish, the Shepherd Pie. An assortment of a veggies and meat, topped with creamy mashed potatoes and baked to a golden-brown perfect.
Italy is known for their Gnocchi, a type of noodle/dumpling made by mixing mashed potato with flour. Often stuffed, these little guys are a refreshing alternative to the traditional pasta and are simply delectable.
Poland is known for an assortment of Potato based dishes, ranging from the almighty and beyond appetizing Polish Potato Pancakes, to dumplings, to VODKA!
Yes. I said it Vodka. Potatoes can be processed to make vodka and Poland is famous for it!
In North America we enjoy all of the above, but nothing beats the Loaded Bake Potato. A warm potato topped with butter, sour cream, chives, bacon bits and cheese…does it get any better?
Certainly it’s not a dish suited for daily consumption, but that’s why we have the Potato Salad, right? We are also known for our killer Hash Browns, Potatoes and Gravy, Potato Skins and of course not only our favorite, but the WORLD’s favorite dish…the French Fry; which funny enough isn’t french, but Belgian.
The most notable potato concoction made in the USA would have to be the Potato Chip, or the Saratoga Chip as they were once called. Developed accidentally as Chef George Crum’s retaliation against a patron that kept sending back his fried potatoes, stating they were too mushy, the accidental genius was quickly noted and mass produced in no time!
Regardless of how you choose to prepare a potato one thing is undeniable…they are addictive for a reason: