Posted by: Vanessa Barneveld | April 24, 2009

Hawt Potato


Some of you might be very surprised I’ve chosen to spotlight the spud during Food Week at We Love YA. After all, it’s common knowledge that chocolate is a major food group for me. I must confess I’ve also had an enduring love affair with potatoes my whole life.

Apart from making my heart (and stomach) sing, is there anything the potato can’t do? Cooking-wise, you can manipulate it any which way – smash, hash, boil, bake, grill, dice, slice, French-fry, pan-fry. It’s even ideal smothered in a luscious chocolate mole sauce.

If potatoes came with a nutritional panel, it would say they’re high in fibre, folate, B vitamins, vitamin C, protein, potassium and carbohydrates. A potato with the skin on contains 110 calories – until you add butter, oil, cream, bacon and/or chocolate mole, that is. In order for me to work off an unembellished potato, I would have to type for just over an hour. How easy it that? It truly is the perfect food for writers. (Click here to check out other ways to pay penance for 100-calorie snacks.)

Understandably, the potato has inspired many creative souls. Author Stephanie Ashcraft has 101 suggestions on what to do with a potato. Others, like the Wiggles, have recorded catchy songs about them. Check out this potato gem by Northern Soul singer Dee Dee Sharp:

While I’m an expert at eating spuds, I’m still learning how best to treat them in the kitchen. Is the desiree most desirable for mashing? Which variety will make hot chips that are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside? Some of the answers to these pressing questions can be found through these resources:

White Hat – A guide on which potatoes are good for chipping, roasting or mashing, etc.
Belgian Fries – A comprehensive site on the finer points of fries created by a Dutchman named Michael who has travelled the world in search of the perfect chip. I, for one, cannot wait to return to Amsterdam later this year and binge on frites bathed in mayonnaise.
Western Potatoes – I anticipated images of Mr Potato Head dressed in a cowboy costume but instead found potato paradise.

So, what do you think – is it wrong to love the potato so much? How do you like your potatoes?

I’ll leave you to stew on that with Dee Dee Sharp’s follow-up to Mashed Potato Time – a little number called… Gravy:



  1. Potatoes – I love my potatoes!! And happy with any way it’s cooked – can you think of a more versatile food?! Now to check out those sites….

  2. I like baked sweet potatoes better. My kids must be weird because they don’t like mashed potato, they tend to use it as ammunition in the dinner table war of attrition. Still finding potato in the oddest places after the last battle.

  3. Eleni, hope you’re having a great birthday week! I couldn’t agree with you more on the potato’s versatility. Happy site-seeing!

    Natalie, I think I’d prefer mashed potato ammunition over hard, uncooked spuds. Ouch!

  4. Typing burns calories??! Wooo! I have noticed that when I’m working hardcore on a writing project I seem to trim down a bit. It’s probably because I do less bored-snacking too! My favourite way to have potatoes is SCALLOPED!! Slice thinly with onions and cream, and maybe a few slices of sweet potato, then baked until it’s really soft, and crispy on the top. Oh, heaven! Or, mashed with wasabi with a piece of grilled salmon. Drool….

  5. Hi, Rhiannon! Great to see you here. I’m still trying to master the art of eating with one hand and typing with the other.

    Both of your potato recipes sound amaaaazing! I haven’t had a scalloped potato in years – and even then it was a greasy one from a fish’n’chips shop. Your take on scallops is far more appetising.

  6. Oh, Vanessa, love the post! And love the hearty potato! He just wants to be mashed, or sprinkled with olive oil and vinegar. Or maybe chip-efied. Or salted up *drool*

  7. Don’t forget the butter, Monique! Oh, and the sour cream. And the mayo…or the tomato sauce…or mushroom sauce… Yum!

  8. Ahh, Vanessa, I have to live a life without dairy! But I do indulge, occasionally. I regret it later, but yeah, butter and mayo etc. are soooo good!

  9. Mmmmh, potatoes.
    One of my favourite ways to have potatoes is in a dry curry with lots of mustard seeds, curry leaves and many, many spices.
    Alternatively, spicy and sweet always works for me and I’ll often roast small cubed potatoes with fruit, garlic, onion and chili.

    Potatoes are a great staple because they’re bland but dress up well.

    I agree with Natalie on sweet potatoes being their own kind of awesome.

  10. Ah, Mon, why do the foods are so bad for us taste so good?

    Kiki, I’d never thought of roasting fruit with potatoes. I imagine baked apples or pears would go well with the ol’ spud.

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