Thursday, February 9, 2012
Dorcas Annette Walker
I have sneezed, blown my nose, and coughed my way through this past week from a cold that I caught from my husband. With the fluctuating weather the winter season is ripe for colds and flu. The bright spot in my world as I sat in my recliner with a box of tissues close by was the seed and flower magazines that arrived almost daily in the mail to pore and drool over. You’d think I’d be used to it by now, but I’m still amazed at all the new varieties that come out each year while on the other hand it is a good thing that there are pictures to identify various plants as one would never recognize some of the outlandish colored vegetables. Between doctoring my cold and looking at gardening magazines I fixed up a batch of homemade Potato Soup.
February is also National Potato Lovers month. So I looked up some facts about the potato:
- Potatoes were first cultivated by the Inca Indians around 200 B.C.
- Marie Antoinette wife of Louis XV was known to wear potato blossoms as a hair decoration.
- Up until the late 18th century, the French believed that potatoes caused leprosy. To accept the potato as a safe food reverse psychology was used by posting guards around potato fields during the day leaving them unguarded at night. Every night thieves would sneak into the fields and leave with sacks of potatoes!
- The first established potato fields in North America were in 1719.
- The ‘Idaho’ potato or ‘Russet Burbank’ potato was developed in 1871.
- The Yukon Gold potato honors the Alaskan Klondike gold rush where potatoes were actually ‘worth their weight in gold.’ Potatoes were so valued for their vitamin C content that miners traded gold for potatoes.
- In 1912 the Idaho Potato Museum was built in the old Oregon Short Line Railroad Depot.
- In 1974, an Englishman named Eric Jenkins grew 370 pounds of potatoes from one plant.
- The world’s largest potato chip was produced in Jackson, TN by the Pringle company in 1990 measuring 23’ by 14.5’
- Instant mashed potatoes (dehydrated potatoes) were introduced commercially in 1955.
- The potato is the fourth most important crop in the world and requires less water to grow than wheat, rice and corn.
- The potato produces more food per acre than any other crop and one acre of land can provide sustenance for nearly10 people.
- Potatoes are grown in all 50 states, and in 125 countries; New York consumes more potatoes than any other state.
- The average American eats about 140 pounds of potatoes each year; the most popular is the Russet Burbank.
- The potato is about 80% water and 20% solid, grows underground, is actually swollen stems, not roots, and changes its chemical structure after harvested by the outer layer thickening and hardening converting to the same substance that is found in corks.
- An 8-ounce baked or boiled potato has only150 calories.
- The Potato was the first vegetable grown in outer space.
2 large potatoes
½ tsp salt
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 tb dried onion
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
pepper & salt
½ stick of butter
Peel, wash, and cut potatoes into small chunks. Add water to cover, salt, and bring to a boil. Let cook for ten minutes until potatoes are soft then mash. Stir in milk, onions, parsley, pepper & salt to taste, and butter. Simmer for five more minutes until butter is melted. Preparation time is twenty-five minutes and this recipe serves four!
Weekly tip: Don’t store uncooked potatoes in the refrigerator as the taste and texture will be affected!
Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.webs.com