Celebrating the Potato
A friend reminded me that 2008 is the International Year of the Potato, organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
The timing is impeccable. With the global cost of wheat 83 percent higher than a year ago and that of rice up by 20 percent since the beginning of this year, the potato is being touted as a low-cost solution to easing the global food crisis.
After wheat and rice, the potato is the world's number three crop, but unlike the grains, it's not a global commodity. According to the FAO, about six percent of the world's potatoes are on the international market, compared to approximately 17 percent for wheat. That's because the potato is more perishable -- prone to rot -- and because of its bulky nature, more costly to transport. The upside of this lesser export potential is that countries can think local versus global, growing their own, easy-to-harvest potatoes, with more control over prices, and feeding themselves.
In Peru, ancient home of the potato, there's a nationwide push to
to substitute costly wheat flour with potato flour (video link) in bread and baked goods.
We tend to think that potatoes are caloric wastelands, but that's because we eat so many darned French fries. A non-fried potato is actually a good source of Vitamins B6 and C, potassium and dietary fiber, plus a fair amount of protein.
In honor of the spud, I've compiled a bunch of links to potato-centric recipes that have served me well over the years.
Long-time readers know I'm a big fan of mayo-free potato salad, particularly with cook-out season around the corner.
Brunch is always better, I say, with a frittata, especially when studded with diced potatoes that get melty and sweet inside. (A good last-minute Mother's Day treat to boot.)
As much as I love a crispy frite as the next guy, there's comfort galore in this potato and green bean pie, a handy side dish for a big supper crowd. Speaking of cozy, a pot of Vietnamese-style chicken, lemongrass and potato curry, will take the edge off on a rainy day.
How could I forget my adventures making gnocchi, which I recommend everyone try at least once, particularly when basil is in season and you can sauce them up with a glorious pesto.
And now, potato heads, it's your turn. Share your tried-and-true spud specials in the comments area.
By Kim ODonnel |
May 8, 2008; 11:18 AM ET
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