The venerable spud. It's been getting a lot of bad press. "potatoes are starchy..the have no nutritional value...don't eat them!" Um, lots of people had to survive on them! They have been a staple of most Irish Americans diet.. I love them! So...... What is your view of this evil tuber?
Ha! They DO get a bad rep, don't they?! But that's because we tend to fry them (and double fry them)! They are such versatile little nuggets!
The praties are just fine. They ought to be incorporated generously into a well-balanced diet. Yes, if one crams cakes and pastries and other high-carb, high-sugar foods down at an alarming rate, problems will arise. But including generous portions of potatoes (without loads of butter, cheese, salt, etc.) will do a body good.
And from a taste standpoint, like Tiffany has said, they are versatile and can be presented in such a multitude of ways.
Brings to mind one of the courtroom scenes from the film, "My Cousin Vinny," when the witness said, "No self-respecting southerner uses instant grits." Well, no self-respecting Irishman / Irishwoman neglects a hearty helping of praties on a regular basis. :-)
I'm currently reading The Graves Are Walking, a book on the famine. I thought this passage fascinating:
"The Halls, an English couple,who visited Ireland in the early 1840s, went even further than [Adam] Smith, crediting the potato with producing the hardiest peasantry in the world. And, indeed, on metrics of physical well-being like height and strength, the early- nineteenth-century Irishman was a wonder. Half an inch taller than the Englishman and an inch taller than the Belgian, the Irishman was stronger than both. On a Victorian contraption called a dynameter, the average physical strength of the Irishman was 432 lb, compared to 403 lb. for the Englishman and 339 lb. for the Belgian."
In 2002, I visited the Famine Museum in Strokestown, Co. Roscommon, nd remember reading that the pre-famine peasant Irish diet of potatoes and buttermilk was a very good one in nutritional terms.