What About Potatoes?
Potatoes are native to the Peruvian Andes. They were an important crop for the Incas. From there they spread throughout the world, and today are a major staple in many diets, including the American diet. They have developed greatly since their original use in the Andes. In fact, you wouldn't recognize one of theirs as a spud. They come in odd colors and shapes, sometimes looking like some strange root instead of the mealy tuber we are familiar with.
Potatoes are often maligned as fattening and lacking in nutrition. Technically, this isn't true. It's the toppings people heap on them that loads on the calories, or the oil in which they are fried. Potatoes are a good source of potassium, niacin and Vitamin C.
Were french fries invented in France? See a history of potatoes and fries; you may be surprised.
Are they healthy? Sometimes. But not as eaten by the average American. As reported by MSNBC, Dr. Susan M. Krebs-Smith, a research nutritionist with the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., states:
The explosion of fast-food joints makes potatoes— especially in the form of french fries— the vegetable people eat most. Half of all servings of vegetables Americans eat are potatoes, and half of those are french fries."
Kids love french fries. I do too. But deep-fried home fries are a nutritional disaster, frozen ones are disgusting, and commercial fast food ones are a horrible thing to eat or feed your children. Not only is most of nutrition gone, but the reused, reheated oil is believed by many to be a double danger. It's the wrong kind of oil for your circulation, clogging arteries and thickening the blood, leading to an increased danger of heart attacks. The re-heating changes the chemical composition of the oil, and many experts believe it can add to the risk of cancer. In addition, consuming lots of greasy fries fills you up and keeps you from eating the variety of vegetables needed for good health.
We've all seen recipes for oven fries. Those are fine if you are using the oven for something else. Otherwise, heating the oven to over 400 degrees for 40 minutes or so just to cook a few potatoes is an incredible waste of energy dollars. Not only that, but you may not have the hour it takes to prepare this dish, and they sometimes come out with hard or overdone bits where the potato was cut thinner.
Here's a recipe for quicker Crispy Oven Fries. At their best, they are both crispy and chewy, and evenly cooked. The kids will love them and so will you.
Another delicious potato recipe proves they don't have to be fried to be good. With surprise added veggies, it's a nutritious treat. Try Creamy Potato Salad Plus.
Check out more potato recipes at the Idaho Potato Commission's recipe site.