Post by existentialcrisis on Nov 25, 2009 8:08:17 GMT
A potato thread... wow... despite being by my lonesome all night long at a computer, I still don't find the time to find these old threads...
Love potatoes. Got some Irish in me, and well, P.E.I. has always been close by. Favorite is mashed, skins on, simple. Also love some baby reds steamed with a little butter, salt and pepper. Or my blue potato salad!
Quite interested in the topic of crispy potato skins (was actually hoping for a reason to address this). As described here, they are leftover potatoes, quarted lenghwise, scooped out and baked with toppings, right? I never encountered this version of potato skins until I moved westwards.... I'm pretty sure, from my observations and conversations with other east coasters that potato skins are something a bit different in my old neck of the woods. Instead of a leftover potato, what is used is the skin scraps that have been peeled off potatoes used for French Fries. So instead of symmetrical potato quarters, you have a more chaotic mess of skins thrown on a plate like nacho chips, with melted cheese and bacon bits, and a side of sour cream. I was very disappointed when I saw the Western version for the first time.
The last picture is the only one that comes close to what I'm talking about. It was suprizingly impossible to find a picture of the potato skins I know and love, but I will try to get a good one when I am home for Christmas.
Non-Canadians may not know that PEI is Prince Edward Island, the small island province that was the cradle of Confederation and particularly potato-friendly soil. A lot of potatoes are also grown in nearby New-Brunswick (which includes the remaining French-speaking Acadian regions), home to the world-famous McCain frozen potato empire.
Most of the nutrients in potatoes are right under the skin.
When I was younger growing up on the farm,there was an agricultural organization known as The Potato Board and our local chapter had an office with info,updates,meetings etc. They came out with a bumper sticker(in the 1960's still a novel concept)and it read: THE POTATO,SOMETHING GOOD THAT'S GOOD FOR YOU. I remember I put one on my dormitory door when I went away to college and everyone thought I was weird.(which I was) They all had FREE LOVE,and all that hippieness on their doors.
I have never heard of McCain foods. Around here the king of all things in frozen potatoes is Ore-Ida. The biggest potato person/company is J. R. Simplot. He was the one that was first to provide frozen french fried potatoes to McDonalds way back when; but started out as the biggest shipper of fresh potatoes early in World War II. We lived in Boise, ID in the early 70's and he was bigger than life. He was the first one to introduce commercially viable frozen french fries in the early 50's. He passed away in 2008 at the age of 99.
Last Edit: Nov 25, 2009 20:03:53 GMT by traveler63
When you're chewing on life's gristle[br]Don't grumble, give a whistle[br]And this'll help things turn out for the best...[br]And...always look on the bright side of life...[br]Always look on the light side of life.[br]Monty Python's Life of Brian[br]
McCain purchased Ore-Ida's foodservice operations (manufacture and sale of frozen products, e.g. fries, to the food-service industry in 1997 from Heinz (Heinz retained the retail business). McCain is the worlds largest producer of frozen fries - they produce about 1/3 of the worlds supply.
Post by existentialcrisis on Nov 26, 2009 8:52:16 GMT
I've never understood the appeal of MCD's fries... I'd rather have Wendy's or KFC's. Or ideally, some good pub fries - skins on. I always like skins on my potatoes. As lagatta pointed out, that's where all the nutrition is. I heard that during the Irish Potato Famine, parents would scoop out the insides of the potatoes to feed their kids what seemed more plentiful, while the parents themselves would nibble on the skins. In many cases, the children would die from malnutrition but the parents would live, and nobody understood why at the time.
This is not mere preference on my part. Here is my logic:
The hog is the food animal most like us in many ways. Remember that the first heart valve replacements were piggy pieces. Also, cannibals refer to human flesh as "long pork". Lard will remain liquid at well under 98.6F, whereas anyone who's ever cleaned a pot in which beef has boiled knows how hard and recalcitrant it is.
(Butter is a beef product, remains fairly hard at room temperature, and doesn't occur all that naturally.)
My point is that people recoil at the idea of using lard, but used in moderation it's a yummy and fairly benevolent fat.
on topic modification: potatoes fried in lard are divine!
Duck fat is by far the best for fries, and that is about as benevolent as olive oil (which is good for some kinds of sautéed potatoes and "oven fries", but not for true frites as its smoking point is too low).
From my great confit adventure, enough duck fat to make frites for a couple of friends, and they were heavenly - just the most beautiful golden colour, and no "too heavy" feeling afterwards.
bixa, that "graisse de rognons" could actually be a different type of fat. As you know, we have different types of fat, and there is no reason to assume it is different for other mammals at least.
I wasn't being pretentious, bixa. It is simply that I usually read and see this term in French. No more pretentious than el vasito.
Certainly in Belgium, I'd have seen it in French and in Dutch (Flemish). I have learnt a lot of words in Dutch, but "kidney" is not among them alas. So I remembered it in French.
Of course I checked: it is niervet in Dutch. (Nier is related to all those Nephro/kidney words, and of course "vet" (fat), which I knew, is similar to English and German).
Note that in Dutch, many compound nouns become a single word as in German, but remain uncapitalised, as in English. Dutch is really somewhere between English and German, but of course it is itself, and not a halfway point between other languages.
One of my online dictionaries, for what it's worth (these things must be checked for serious writing) gives "graisse de rognons" or "niervet" as SUET in English, as opposed to tallow...
I need to perfect my version of the "écrasée de pommes de terre" -- actually I need to find how to vary the versions, because sometimes it is great as a semi-solid base on which to place the other elements (like seared scallops or strips of goose liver), and sometimes it should be a bit creamier and placed next to the other item (entrecôte or fish fillet...). Also I can easily imagine mixing in a bit of chopped mushroom, little pieces of bacon or a little julienne of carrots and courgettes, as the case may be.
We had actual baked potatoes with our comida today. Lately, at least one market stall has been offering Russets. They are somewhat irregular, but close in taste and texture to the Idaho Russet potatoes we were accustomed to on the north side of the Río Bravo.
The best fries I ever tasted were in Versailles, France in a tiny little eatery. From the taste, they were clearly not fried in peanut oil or vegetable oil, most probably beef tallow. OMG so divine! Ever since, I avoid fries here in the US, where they are usually fried in peanut oil, vegetable oil with an additive to make it last longer, or that horrible chemical oil stuff. Can't stand either of the second two, and peanut oil has always somehow seemed to have an aftertaste to me. Odd in that I love peanuts either roasted, boiled, or made into peanut butter.