The “white” potato, know today as the Irish potato, originated in the
Andean Mountains. In 1532 the Spanish arrived in north Peru and it is speculated
that they brought the potato to Europe in the second half of the 16th
century.(8) Because they were classified in the same botanical family as the
poisonous nightshade, potatoes were thought to be poisonous and people refrained
from eating them.(9) Potatoes were considered a novelty and became fashionable
in the mid-eighteenth century when Marie Antoinette wore potato blossoms in her
hair. During the eighteenth century, the monarchs of Europe discovered the
nutritional value of the potato and ordered it planted.(10) By 1800, the potato
had taken root and ninety percent of the Irish population was dependent on the
potato as their primary means of caloric intake and as an export.(11)
Since the famine, the Irish have expanded their diets; however, the potato
continues to be a dietary staple in 130 countries today, including Ireland.(12)
Potatoes contain nutrients, such as protein, carbohydrate, and
vitamin C, which are necessary for a healthy diet, but lack vitamin A and
calcium. Combined with milk, potatoes supply almost all food elements
required for a healthy diet.(13)
Emphasis added. Taken from this site, where you will find the footnotes sourced.
I don’t remember where I first read that potatoes and milk provided almost all the nutrients required for a healthy diet, but I know I read it somewhere more than 20 years ago. It might have been the USDA. I did a lot of reading of official pamphlets back then. Idaho Potato Expo has more.
Many, many years ago when we only had one child and another was on the way we were suffering the consequences of a poor financial decision. While trying to come up with ways to save money, I remembered what I’d read about potatoes and milk.
In order to get out of that situation, we spent a six month period eating a steady diet of baked potatoes and milk for lunch (with cottage cheese and butter when we were flush), homemade bread with eggs or fruit for breakfast and beans and rice with cheese and whatever vegetable was seasonal for supper every day. It may not be the healthiest of all possible diets, but it was a very frugal diet.
Other potato recipes:
Potato Pancakes, or Latkes
4 cups grated potatoes (I never peel them. I scrub them clean using a plastic kitchen scrubber I keep just for this purpose. Steel pads with no soap added also work well)
1 onion, diced small
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons flour
pepper to taste
Scrub and grate the potatoes, put them in a sieve and press down, squeezing out the liquid (do this for better hash browns, too).
Combine in a medium bowl with onion, salt, flour, and pepper. Lightly beat the eggs, and stir them into the mix.
Heat the oil in a skillet. Quickly drop in a spoonful of the potato mixture and flatten it with the back of the spoon, making a pancake patty. Brown on one side, flip with pancake turner and brown lightly on the other.
This makes about two dozen. SErve with applesauce, pork, sour cream, or ketchup. Or eat them plain.
1 1/4 Lbs Green Cabbage, chopped
2 Cups Water
1 Tbsp Oil
1 1/4 Lbs cooked Potatoes, scrubbed & Quartered
1 Cup Chopped onions (Leeks i fyou have them)
1 Cup Milk
1 Pinch Ground Mace
Salt And Pepper To Taste
1/2 Cup Melted Butter
In a large pot simmer the cabbage covered in 2 cups of water and the oil for 10 minutes, or until soft. Drain, set aside and keep warm. Fry the onion until it begins to be shiny, then add the cooked potatoes and the milk and simmer until onions are cooked and warm.
Puree the mixture and add the cooked cabbage. Beat until well mixed. Season with mace, salt and pepper. Top with melted butter and serve
Note: You could use leftover mashed potatoes for this and just add milk, cooked onions, cooked cabbage and seasonings.
Incidentally, at the time of the Potato Famine in Ireland, potatoes made up 80 percent of the average Irish peasant’s diet. The remaining 20 percent largely came from meat, milk, and eggs supplied by animals who were fed on a diet of… potatoes.
According to Washington STate Potatoes, “More than one million of Ireland’s 8 million inhabitants died of starvation; almost 2 million emigrated. The population of Ireland was reduced by almost one-fourth and has never regained its former numbers to this day.”
Recipes Reposted at The Common Kitchen