Comfort food gets a bad wrap – but really, shouldn’t all food be comforting? What if each and every bite we took served as a reminder to our bodies that it is good to be alive and it is a gift to receive nourishment from the Earth. Mashed Potatoes are the archetypal comfort food, and as such, everyone has their own way of preparing them just so – skins on, skins off, mashed to uniformity or left in their more organic chunky form. There are as many ways to enjoy potatoes as there are folks cooking them.
Potatoes are indigenous to the Andes of Southern Peru and were brought to Europe by the Spanish in the 16th century. Today they are cultivated as the fourth largest food crop, following maiz, wheat, and rice. However, the enormous white-fleshed potatoes that most folks are familiar with today would likely blush were they to encounter the brilliantly hued and peculiarly shaped potatoes from which they descended. Believe it or not, there are over 4,000 species of potatoes in existence. They vary dramatically in appearance and constitute a veritable rainbow of sustenance. While potatoes have been unjustly relegated to the role of a simple starch in most folk’s gastronomic cosmology, I am here to tell you that potatoes are sexy.