Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Speaking of Technology
Some of my readers will remember the movie Forrest Gump starring Tom Hanks as the slow-witted, but wise and loveable title character, who always seemed to be in the right place, at the right time, and beautifully and profoundly touched people's lives.
There's a scene with Forrest and his friend, Bubba, in which Bubba begins counting off the ways that he has eaten shrimp.
I'm like that with potatoes.
My grandmother grew a lot of potatoes. The crop was stored under the house (what everyone else would call a "cellar" or "basement", but since it wasn't closed in for a good many years, it couldn't properly have been called either of those) in a big bin. I don't think I've ever seen so many potatoes in one spot.
Granny's favorite potato dish was fried potatoes. She used a big iron skillet and probably lard. Hers were always the perfect size, perfect thickness, and perfect crispness. I've never learned to fry potatoes quite like my granny did, and so I don't.
But I do love preparing them in many other ways. One of my favorite ways for winter is to wrap them in foil and put them in the woodstove - yes, where the fire is. As long as they are not touching any burning logs, they will cook, rather than getting scorched. It's such an easy, low-energy way to cook them.
I also like to slice them into quarters and put them in a pan with just a little water (just enough to keep them from burning to the bottom of the pan), and then, cover the pan and put it on the back of the woodstove. They have, roughly, the same texture and consistency as a baked potato. It's easy, because there's no peeling involved.
For a quick and easy, one-pot lunch, I like to cut the potato into cubes and put the potato and a couple of eggs in water and boil them both together. A little butter and salt & pepper, and it's a delicious, nutritious meal.
My family prefers roasted potatoes. New potatoes are best to use as roasted potatoes, because the skins are still pretty soft. I just clean the potatoes, cut them into pieces with the skin on, toss with some olive oil, and bake at 350° until they're brown.
In a very Bubba-esque recitation, there are also: scalloped potatoes, potatoes and cheese (like mac & cheese without the mac), mashed potatoes, whipped potatoes, potatoes au gratin, potato chips, potato soup ....
Potatoes can also be combined with flour for pasta (gnocchi) and bread.
Or made into flour.
I hear that in some places, potatoes are mashed and fermented, and then, distilled. I think it's called Vodka ;).
Potatoes are a very versatile food. Also, a fact my daughter likes to remind me is that one can survive - nutrition-wise - on just potatoes and milk (or potatoes and beer, provided one gets enough water to stay hydrated).
I'm still working out how to best grow potatoes for the highest yield on my quarter acre. So far, a raised bed has given the biggest yield, but since my goal is to raise all of the potatoes we will eat, and keeping my grandmother's huge bin in mind, the 30 lbs we got from the raised bed isn't even close to enough. So, I keep trying.
Then, of course, after all of that talk about technology in a recent post, I see this link on my Facebook page today. It's to a website that features instructions and a video on building a battery out of potatoes.
As if potatoes weren't valuable enough, now I need to grow enough to power light bulbs?
I, personally, prefer to eat my potatoes, but heck, if I could charge my cellphone with a potato?! Not such a bad thing.
Here's the link to the video on how to make a battery out of a potato.