The Potato

My name is Ralp and I like to eat potatoes.

The potato (Solanum tuberosum) is a delicious tuber of the nightshade family.1 It is one of the most widely used vegetables in the western world, but if one were to compare a humble potato to practically any other vegetable, one might very well conclude that the potato is boring and plain. One would be wrong.

Potatoes are amazingly versatile, and can be prepared in dozens of ways as part of thousands of recipes, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks. And that is the reason for this guide: among so many ways to cook a potato, a hierarchy naturally emerges.

This potato hierarchy is based on some subjective criteria, but hopefully most readers will more or less agree with the ordering as presented here. It's important to note that this hierarchy is not the same thing as saying "I like fried potatoes better than mashed potatoes!" Although subjective, every effort has been made to disregard personal taste.

Okay, but what is this hierarchy then? Bascially, it's just a ladder of potato "quality" or "respectibility". It's the same comparison as claiming that an oak tree is "nobler" than a box elder, or that a steak is "more respectible" than a quarter pounder. For example, one probably wouldn't see fries served at an elegant dinner, so they are pretty low on the list. The rule of thumb I use is to consider: if I were a potato, how would I rather be cooked?

I'm going to start at the bottom of the list and work my way to the top, but honestly it shouldn't surprise anyone what the number one potato turns out to be. I also plan to share some recipes or serving suggestions along the way, but first on the list is one I don't know any recipes for: Potato Chips.

Now here is a picture of a potato for some reason!

A potato!

Text copyright ©2004 by Ralp

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