How much thought or credit do we give the humble potato? Boiled, baked, fried, mashed, scalloped, put into a salad or pancake, it remains true to itself, satisfying hunger throughout the world.
Nearly every country on earth pays tribute to the potato each day. Before the advent of “healthy eating”, most dinner plates contained the requisite meat, potatoes and gravy.
A Norwegian friend uses an apocryphal story to illustrate how poor they were. Each child was given one potato, and told to point to the light fixture above where a herring was hanging. Thus the meal of “potatoes and point was born”.
The Potato Famine caused the migration of a million Irish during the 1840’s. This sculpture of Annie Moore and her brother stands at the quayside in Cove, Ireland. She was the first Irish girl to go through Ellis Island.
We have mashed potato clouds, Mr. Potato Head, even Marilyn Monroe once posed in a potato sack which didn’t do her any harm, and Dan Quayle didn’t know how to spell potato when he was Vice-President.
The potato farmers moved away from Long Island, New York in the 1940’s due to the same fungus that blighted Ireland’s potato crop a century earlier.
Willian Levitt and other developers like him moved in and built Levittown, one of the first planned neighborhoods of copycat homes, and the American suburb was born on a bed of forgotten potatoes.
Today every market, super or Farmer’s, bursts with tuberous exuberance, red, white, yellow, sweet and even blue.
2 cups grated potato
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves chopped
2 large eggs
2 Tbs. potato starch or flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup minced scallions
Fry in about 3 Tbs. vegetable oil till nicely browned. Dr. Advice likes applesauce alongside his. A dollop of sour Cream is nice too
I sometimes put all the ingredients except the scallions into the processor about 30 seconds . The texture will be grainy. The pancakes will be quite thin (called criques). Cool on a rack. They can be reheated to crisp up.