Mmmashed potatoes…It’s the year of the spud!

mashed potatoesThe United Nations has designated 2008 the International Year of the Potato to raise awareness of the dietary importance of both this humble, well-loved tuber, and of agriculture in general.

They’re promoting what my Irish ancestors have known for generations: that potatoes can be an easy-to-grow dietary staple.

According to Statistics Canada, potatoes account for 35 per cent of all vegetables consumed. In 2002, the average Canadian ate 38 kg of potatoes in a variety of fresh and frozen forms including fries, baked, potato chips and mashed.

Interestingly, although potatoes have received bad press due to their carbohydrate content, our consumption is up considerably from 33 kg per person in 1992. I often recommend serving potatoes as the perfect accompaniment for many of the meals in my latest book Dana’s Top Ten Table.

Because our family is small, I find it simple to double up on my potato cooking so that I can prepare side dishes for more than one night. One of my favourite tactics is to boil a big batch of Yukon gold or new potatoes with the skin on. I serve half tossed with butter, sea salt and chives for dinner tonight. The next night, I either fork-mash the remaining potatoes and make an easy-to-prepare potato pancake (check out toptentable.com for a recipe for feta dill potato pancakes) or I cube the cold potatoes and pan-fry them in olive oil with fresh rosemary and red onions. Both preparations go with many main courses.

Statistics reveal that more people over 55 years of age eat potatoes two to three times per week than younger people. How many nights a week do you serve potatoes?

Check out these fine potato recipes from homemakers.com:

Mashed Potatoes with Corn and Garlic

Fresh Parsley Gnocchi

Potato Duo Latkes

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