Potatoes: The most versatile of all foods

Potatoes are one of the top produced foods in the world

Potatoes are one of the top produced foods in the world

The potato is a versatile food that has served a role in numerous dishes in our culture. You would be hard pressed to go a full day without coming across a potato infused meal. The most remarkable part of the starchy vegetable is the different ways it can be presented.

French fries are served in the Elder cafeteria as a side for many meals. (photo taken from the internet)

People get pretty creative with potatoes, and you can see why; people enjoy the taste in nearly all their foods. It goes far beyond just baking a potato and maybe tossing butter on it, but there are real gourmet dishes.

It is not just around here either, it is beyond just America, but it is all around the world. In fact, it is estimated that more than 325 million tons of potatoes are produced every year according to “The International Year of the Potato”.

Often associated with potatoes is the nation of Ireland due to their Great Potato Famine that knocked out a good chunk of their population. Prior to the famine, Irish families ate an average of 10 lbs of potatoes a day, which in my opinion is just absurd.

What most do not know is that the potato was actually introduced to Europe by Spanish Conquistadors in the 1500’s after they found it in the America’s. Its popularity took off immediately, but most of its creativity was not discovered until late.

Potato chips are one of the most common snacks today and are served in Elder’s cafeteria and vending machines daily. (photo taken from the internet)

Lately, America has been climbing in the ranks among the leading producers of potatoes globally and produces upwards of 424 thousand potatoes yearly. Nearly 60 percent of potato sales in America are to processors for French fries, chips, dehydrated potatoes and other potato products. The remainder goes to the fresh market, is fed to farm animals or re-used as seed tubers for growing the next season’s crop.

Hash browns are served at Elder Breakfast daily and have emerged as one of the hottest breakfast foods. (photo taken from the internet)

As we all know, the food is not the healthiest the way we tend to eat it in America. They are often deep fried and caked with grease, they are baked twice and covered with sour cream and bacon, or they are mashed up and drenched with butter. Any way you put it, the potato is Americanized to the point that it hardly tastes like a potato, but more like grease and butter. The Elder Cafeteria is no stranger to how to prepare potatoes so that high school boys will purchase them.

The Elder Cafeteria menu is home to some pretty good food, which is especially tasty after a long morning of sitting in class. Nearly everyone would agree that Elder’s daily potato selection is a great trio of French Fries, Hash Browns, and Tater Tots. Since all of these are stellar options for an order, it begs the question: Which Elder Potato Item is Best?

Personally, I am not a veteran Elder Cafeteria eater, so I decided to ask a couple of Elder Cafeteria Connoisseurs to give me a rundown of which potato product they like the most.

Mike Groh ’17: The lunches are great.  They offer a good variety.  Based on the potato products available, I would say french fries, hash browns, and tater tots are among the best.  In that order.  These are good sides with the main course.  I am a usual french fry buyer, so the fries are my favorite.  That order is the same outside of the cafeteria too.

Elder serves these bite sized fried potatoes on days where fries are not served. (photo taken from the internet)

Ian Hoeting ’17: Best to worst: French fries, hash browns, tater tots

The french fries are even better than some french fries I’ve had outside of school.  They are the perfect size and perfectly greased.  The only problem might be that they lack the softness that some of the great fries possess.  The hash browns are average, but I’m not a big hash brown guy to begin with.  Only have had average hash browns throughout my life.  The tater tots at Elder are the worst potato items.  Not worth the buy.

These guys aren’t alone in their love for these deep fried potatoes and are a part of the reason why potatoes are so prevalent during meals today. The demand is extraordinary, and it does not seem to be slowing down. People just keep getting more and more creative with the means by which they eat this food.

Elder does its part for the potato industry every day by serving the delicious side in not only the three fried ways but also potato chips. It is not difficult to come across them outside the cafeteria either, as they have become one of the most common foods in the world.