Potatoes, history, truth, and a reference.

When you’re married to an Englishman, you can always use a recipe for potatoes.

Listen to the path this one followed:

I had LA Ink on as background noise while doing homework.  I looked up because I heard “Bobcat Goldthwait” and I have a little fondness for strange funny dudes.  He was getting a tattoo of a Salt Potato.

Salt Potatoes!  Potatoes are always a win, and anything that raises blood pressure is a total flavor bonus.  Wikipedia then led me to:

A New York Times Recipe for Salt Potatoes

Canarian Wrinkled Potatoes (Papas Arrugadas)

Both recipes are at heart instructions to boil potatoes in ridiculously salty water.

Both recipes have stories which relate the food to the surroundings:

“The salt potato, an iconic central New York side dish, got its start in the late 1800s, when salt was distilled by boiling water from marshes around Syracuse, N.Y. Workers, many of them Irish, would dump potatoes in the boiling vats and then have lunch.”

“in the past the Canarians used sea-water”

I love that this is the same food, which originated in two different places and two different cultures, which uses the same natural resources with varying human mediation.

It also illustrates, in a round about way, the difficulties of tracing the origins of foods or recipes.  Food doesn’t get invented, it gets developed.  Or messed around with.  Or serendipitized (that’s not a word, but you know what I mean).   Authenticity is a pretty big concept, especially to foodies, but I’m beginning to think there is no such thing under the sun.

Today’s reference:  Check out  Food Timeline for an interesting and comprehensive take on food research.  And yes, it was developed by a librarian.


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