Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ode to a Spud

Since I’m the kind of a gal who’s always searching for the magic bullet, foodwise, I’ve been keeping a low-carbohydrate diet for the past few days. I resisted the idea of low-carb diets for a long time. For the past many years, the conventional wisdom has been that meat and fat and oils are anathema, while whole grain rice and beans are food for the gods.

Yet in the past decade, many a scientific research project has determined that restricting carbs is good for your weight and your cholesterol and your blood sugar. Witness the fact that Drew Carey lost eighty pounds on a low carb diet and rid himself of Type II diabetes, to boot. Of course, low carb isn’t all that easy when you’re a vegetarian, so my long-practiced flesh-free lifestyle is no more. My low-carb diet is more or less a fish-vegetable-egg diet. Also some butter and cream cheese and half-and-half, which is nice, especially for someone who has denied herself such yummies for the past twenty years or so. (As long as it’s organic/hormone free. I can’t be expected to give up all my health-foodieness cold turkey, so to speak.)

My seriously carb-restricted diet is only temporary, say, five pounds-worth and maybe ten points of LDL. But that doesn’t keep me from craving potatoes right now.

Oh, the lovely potato. There was a time, you know, when all the world was potato free, except for the blessed inhabitants of the Andes. It’s hard to imagine life without the comfort of a fluffy, floury, potato, slathered with butter and sour cream, or simmered in milk with onions until it’s falling apart, or whipped into a silken cloud. I could argue, however, that God created the potato for frying, for what could surpass a French fry crisp and gold on the outside and pillow-soft on the inside. Unless it’s my mother’s home fries, sliced in rounds and fried with onions in an inch of bacon grease until it’s crisp and crusty.

I like to try different varieties of potatoes. The good old russet can hardly be beaten for fries and baked potatoes, but small reds are great creamed, and I love buttery Yukon golds fried, or just boiled up and served on the side with a nice sauce. I like to put purple potatoes in soups and stews just for looks, and I understand that they have a nice nutritional kick. It’s good that more varieties are available to us, now. Used to be only the one was available to us Americans in our supermarket bins. I read recently about a Chilean woman who has made it her life’s work to collect as many heirloom potato types as she can, and to date has discovered over 200 distinct varieties.

When I add carbohydrates back into my diet, I’m considering making it my life’s work to taste them all.

1 comment:

Angela said...

Love the blog, and I have passed on this blog award for you: