Potatoes a Long Time Favorite
Beans and taters is whats fer dinner! My sons call them mountain steroids and some call them plain old spuds but the good old Irish potato has been the staple of our diet for generations. I suppose one might be tempted to compare the many uses of potatoes to the amazing list recited by Pvt Benjamin Buford (Bubba) Blue in the Tom Hanks movie Bubba Gump. The fact remains potatoes can be prepared in so many ways.
Being a Southern boy, mashed taters have long been a main dish on the Sunday dinner table along with fried chicken, gravy and those big old "cat head" biscuits made with buttermilk. My mom had a special tool she used to mash her taters and always added country butter, salt and pepper. Sometime the potatoes were served without being mashed, especially those early red potatoes from the family garden. We called potatoes prepared in this fashion stewed or soupy taters. Taters are often among the first crops planted here in the Blue Ridge as are early sweet peas and onions. Fresh dug taters can be found as early as June. This years crop appears to be good and I have already seen some sizable spuds that have been dug and shared with us by family who have gardens.
Fried taters cooked in a cast iron pan have also been a favorite. The key here is to use some sausage grease saved from breakfast and frying the taters until golden brown. These taters are very good served with cornbread and dried beans or cabbage fried in fat back. Depending on the local custom either a chow chow relish or simply a little ketchup are all that is needed to light up your taste buds.
Taters also make for a great side dish.Potato salad makes a great addition to family barbecues and picnics. Here again, custom and ethnic tastes may come into play. Most of the folk I know that live here in the Blue Ridge will add boiled eggs to their potato salad. Mustard may also be added to give a little tartness and always the addition of fresh onions make for some really good eating.
Fast food chains learned a long time ago the benefits of having plenty of taters in various forms on the menu. French fries, regular or curly fries and tater tots or tater wedges are all popular here in the mountains of North Carolina. Cracker Barrel serves tater tot casserole as a standard choice on both breakfast and dinner menus.
The baked potato is king at steak houses and seafood restaurants. Plain or loaded the baked potato has always been a favorite. There are many more ways to prepare potatoes and I am sharing one recipe for Southern Potato Salad.
DOWN HOME" SOUTHERN POTATO SALAD This is a very old Southern recipe. If you love potato salad, you must try this!
6 lg. Idaho potatoes3 eggs,1 med. "sweet" Vidalia onion, celery, salt, dill pickles, mayonnaise ( some folks will add mustard for tartness and color)
Boil potatoes (in skin) and eggs in unsalted water, until just done, Drain all into colander, let cool, until you can hold in your hand, Scrape skin from cooked potatoes, chop into large chunks, Peel & chop eggs.
Put chopped potatoes and eggs in large mixing bowl, allow plenty of room for mixing.
Add:celery salt, to taste chopped *dill pickle (amount you prefer)chopped *sweet onion (amount you prefer) *some like more onion, some prefer more pickle, your choice.
Add mayonnaise last, enough to allow a good mixture. Combine well.
May be served warm or chilled, either way, it's the best!
I must also add for many of us who are Type II diabetics, potatoes should be eaten sparingly as they contain a high glycemic form of carbohydrates which tend to increase insulin resistance. Instant mashed potatoes make blood sugar go up faster. An alternative might be sweet potatoes.
I couldn't end this bit of trivial foolishness without commenting on tater chips. Classified by many as "junk food" and containing a mother load salt, we still eat our chips. Have you noticed in your grocery store the many varieties of chips. Wavy, regular, baked, Kettle, and so many flavors that appeal to almost any palate.
For those of us who struggle with our diabetes, our heritage and culinary habits must be altered if we are to control our diabetes.
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