Healing Kitchen

Not the Same Old Potato Salad
You can probably find a potato salad recipe from just about any country in the world (hmmm, maybe not Antarctica). But when summertime and picnics and the Labor Day holiday rolls around, it's pretty hard to separate most Americans from their favorite, good ol' American potato salad recipe. We were hoping that maybe we could offer up some new traditions with our collection of slightly eccentric potato salads.

The first salad we would like to offer up is intended as a salute to America: It's called Red, White & Blue-Cheese Potato Salad. It's made with red-skinned potatoes and white-skinned potatoes. We wanted to complete this patriotic palette with blue potatoes, but discovered that they are really only available in the fall. So, we decided instead to get the "blue" from a blue cheese dressing. In honor of this homage to America, we sought out an American-made blue cheese. We used a very creamy example from Massachusetts called Great Hill Blue. You could also try the venerable Maytag Blue (yes, named for the washing machine company) from Iowa, or Berkshire Blue, also from Massachusetts.

The second salad, Triple-Gold Potato Salad, is also a color-based salad (remember you eat first with your eyes): Yukon gold potatoes, corn, and yellow bell peppers all contribute to the salad's sunny look. The dressing is a spicy blend of fresh lime juice and chipotle peppers (smoked jalapenos). Last, but not least, is our Roasted Sweet Potato, Apple & Onion Salad. Chunks of roasted sweet potato are tossed with red onion, green apple, and a hot cider vinegar dressing made with maple syrup and bourbon.

Potato Factoids

     There are more than 5,000 varieties of potatoes grown worldwide.  The first potatoes are believed to have come from Peru 6,000 years ago.  Americans eat 143 pounds of potatoes per person annually (that's 1 baked potato a day, every day).  Modernday Peruvian indians have more than 1,000 different names for potatoes.  The average American knows about 4 names for potatoes. (See if you can think of more than we did; our list is at the end of the article.)  Most people think "new" potatoes are just small potatoes. A true new potato is actually one that is freshly harvested (with thin "feathering" skin that can be brushed off with your fingers). It can be as small as a marble or as large as a full-sized mature potato.  American frontiers-persons used fermented potato water to make their sourdough starters for sourdough bread.  It's actually impossible to grow potatoes in your ears.  When potatoes are exposed to light (either sunlight or artificial), they get a "sunburn." A sunburned potato will have a greenish tinge, which signifies the presence of a bitter compound called solanine. Although solanine is toxic, it would take quite a bit of it to do any harm; nonetheless, you should peel away the green parts of the potato before cooking.  Folk wisdom says that if you have a toothache, you should carry around a peeled potato. And god forbid you should get tonsilitis, because then you have to place very hot boiled potatoes into a sock and wear it around your neck overnight.
[Here's our list of American words for potato: spuds, taters, Idahos, Russets. And no, couch potato and hot potato do not qualify.]
Author: the Healing Kitchen staff
Date Published: 06/28/2000
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