Bite Potatoes – the world’s most popular vegetable, come in thousands of different varieties and can be used in unlimited ways. It’s a well-known fact that potatoes are good for us: almost no fat, good fibre carbohydrates, Vitamin C, and even some protein. By Marty Klinzman Photos by Peter Brooks Celebrating the page 24 Spud page 25 Solanum Tuberosum – earth apple – or spud: Whatever you call it, the humble potato is the ultimate comfort food: Boiled, baked, roasted... or mashed. T his year is the ‘International year of the Potato’ and fetes, fairs, conventions, exhibitions and celebrations are taking place around the world to honour the humble spud. Australia remembers the great Potato Famine of Ireland (1845 – 1850), when over 4 000 female orphans were shipped to the land ‘down- under’ to work as servants! Heichelheim, Germany hosts a potato festival with potato dumplings as a main attraction. Residents of Posen, Michigan, USA, enjoy an end-of- harvest festival featuring a potato cooking contest, and Spokane Washington, USA, will honour the potato by launching a potato-shaped hot-air balloon! In Peru, where the first recorded gathering of potatoes began about 8 000 years ago, an exhibition runs until the end of the year displaying the history, biodiversity, nutritional value and role of the potato in Andean culture. Even the Four varieties of potatoes were served: UK joins the fun. In Lincolnshire County, the local sausage, 1. Roko, specially flown up from Cape Town, Lincolnshire, was paired with mashed potatoes at the 2. Inova cultivar, ‘Lincolnshire Sausage and Potato Festival’. 3. Up-to-date potatoes In Johannesburg, the local chapter of the International 4. Woolworths All-purpose potatoes. Wine & Food Society recently held a Mashed Potato Tasting Each type of potato was peeled, boiled, riced, then mashed, using a limited amount of salt and some of the potato cooking water. Each mash was judged by colour, texture and taste. The vocabulary for texture included light, fluffy, smooth, silky or, texture could be lumpy, gluey, pasty, or even sticky! The warmed plates held five numbered ‘tastes’ of mash. Unbeknown to the diners, the fifth ‘taste’ was a reconstituted dried potato product. Results Inova came in tops, with Woolworths all-purpose potato second! While the dried potato product didn’t win over the majority of people, it did make a something of a showing. A number of those present caught on immediately to the fact that it wasn’t freshly mashed potato. One member declared, “I lived on that while I was a student, and I knew what it was right away from the texture and taste”. While everyone loves potatoes, a plate of ‘mash’ might not be too appealing for a complete dining experience, so, included in the event was a tasting of sausages – it was a real ‘bangers & mash’ event. – rumoured to be the first such event held in South Africa for Sausages came from Peter James Smith, the accomplished radio journalist a sophisticated society of ‘tasters’. The purpose was not only and talented ‘foodie’. Peter, well-known for his ‘Sausages-you-can-trust’, to celebrate the Year of the Potato, but also to discern if the presented four different sausages: Lincolnshire, Cumberland, Thai Sai Grog variety of potato used for mashing really makes a difference. (a type of ‘Thai street food pork sausage), and a well-flavoured Tunisian The lowly spud was put to the test. Lamb Sausage. Each diner tasted all four – along with generous servings Generally, high-starch potatoes are best for mashing and of mashed potatoes. No ‘mushy peas’ were allowed, but the cabbage dish yield a fluffy result. Low starch potatoes are good for boiling, that accompanied the meal was like nothing ever served at boarding school. salads and stews and make a thicker, heavier mash. Sausages were cooked on a Weber Braai - and even the ‘sausage master’ admitted that they were done to perfection. page 26 Advertorial McCain foods makes life less complicated – just like that! If you thought McCain innovation couldn’t The brand new Signatures coated range get any better…. Think again! With the has just been launched, and follows a R500 introduction of a new innovative product million upgrade of McCain’s Delmas potato categorisation, McCain Foods (SA) Food Services plant, producing what can only be described Division has made the product selection and as the perfect chip – crispier for longer, with a buying process much easier for the purchasing longer holding time and enhanced texture. 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