In order to create a culinary American staple, the plant in which it comes from has to come from close to home. For this reason, it’s no surprise that the potato that french fries are made from was first created by our neighbors in South America. The Irish potato was first created in the Andean Mountains to be more specific. The Irish potato is the most common potato is America. Otherwise known as the “white” potato, the Irish potato is very different from the sweet potato.
I love potatoes in all forms, however, I am going to tell you all about our Irish friend. The potato is the most widely grown tuber crop in the world, and it only comes in fourth as the largest food crop. The potato can be purchased fresh, frozen or instant, but I prefer fresh. The ways a potato can be prepared seem endless. I have narrowed it down to my three favorites; mashed, baked, and fried. As in french fried, I am a devoted fan of the golden arches.
My favorite form of the potato, and my favorite food of all time, would have to be mashed potatoes. In order to make good mashed potatoes, you must use fresh potatoes, never frozen. Since potatoes are grown in the ground, washing them before cooking is a necessity. You may choose to keep the skin on, or use a peeler to remove the skin before chopping them up and placing them in a pot of boiling water. Timing is key for good mashed potatoes, you can’t leave them in the water for too long, or not long enough.
If you leave them in too long, they will be very sticky and might even stick to the roof of your mouth. However, if you take them out of the water too soon, you will have unappetizing chunks in your potatoes. When left in the correct amount of time, and cooked at the perfect temperature, your mashed potatoes will be creamy and delicious.
Although mashed potatoes are my personal favorite, baked potatoes are the most popular form in America. There is something about the variety of condiments and the way you can transform the taste each time you eat one that Americans love. In the land of choice, it’s no surprise that we like to choose our food as well. Since Americans eat potatoes at one out of three meals minimum a day, I guess even I have to learn to mix it up a little. The baked potato is self explanatory, all it takes is a few holes poked into it with a fork and into the oven it goes.
When you remove it from the oven, you have your choice of butter, sour cream, chives, bacon bits, or really anything you can imagine to add onto it. As an American, you’re going to consume over 126 pounds of potatoes a year, so you might as well make it interesting.
There is no question about it. America loves french fries. We love them plain, seasoned and cheesy. We’ll take them in any shape, we like them straight, curly, crinkly and waffled. Whatever your preference, there is a french fry for you. Deep fried and crispy, we even vary with the condiments we dip them in. I challenge any American to drive through a town in America without being able to find french fries somewhere.
It’s amazing to think that something that tastes so good, comes from something that is so good for us. Potatoes are high in vitamin C and potassium, not to mention an excellent source of fiber. America somehow found a way to make junk food out of a vegetable. It’s no question why America’s favorite vegetable is the potato, no matter how you slice it.