When I think about my childhood and potatoes, I have memories of boiled, somewhat dry starch. Not that they tasted bad, but butter, salt and pepper could have gone a long way to help the flavour and texture of the mashed or boiled that we had at least 4-5 times a week.
Potatoes have a long history and have been a staple food items since the 1400’s. Potatoes are the fourth most used crop behind rice and maize.
It was not until my early cooking days did I come to appreciate potatoes. Young cooks and culinary students come out of school and for whatever reason have an outlook like they have nothing left to learn. I also inherited this attitude. It was not until I had the opportunity to work a very strict European trained executive chef that changed my attitude very quickly on the subject of “potatoes” specifically.
One day working along side, Chef asked me to name a few classic potatoes. On the spot and totally intimidated I answered “baked, scallop, roast, mashed”. Chef just looked at me straight faced and said with his strong Austrian accent “tomorrow name 10 classic potatoes for me” and walked away. That evening I searched all my school books (no google back then) and presented my finding to Chef the next day. He said “good! Today we make them and tomorrow you name 10 more”. This went on and on for over a month. He took the time each day to carefully help me prepare each style of potato daily until he was satified that I could prepare each one myself. He also did this with vegetables and meats but that’s a different story. I have come to appreciate potatoes in many styles and forms, prepared with hundreds of possibilities.
Do some research and enjoy some of the possibilities one of the most basic food items can completely changed your meal tonight.
Fresco Cafe and Catering