Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Dirt on "Prose and Potatoes"

I'm starting this blog as a way to channel both my passion for food and my passion for writing. For me, these two things are inextricably linked.

Why potatoes?

Until I moved to Idaho nearly two years ago, I really hadn't thought much of the starchy little tuber, nor did I cook much with it. Now, I'm more starch enlightened. The variety of potatoes here is still amazing to me. Fingerling potatoes, Yukon gold, Russet, Idaho Blues, Red, Huckleberry potatoes (which have pink flesh). Although the stereotype that Idaho is one big potato patch is unfair, I can't deny how moving from the Midwest to the Northwest has influenced the way I look at food. I am a product of my environment, and my kitchen reflects this. The things I cook and the things I eat change and evolve with my life experience: regionally, ideologically, and historically. Prose and Potatoes will be the tool in which I can plot these evolutions and share what I've learned about food, about myself, and about my world.

Julia Child loved potatoes. In the first season of The French Chef, Julia boasted that she knew 200 French recipes for potatoes. She devoted two entire episodes that season to nothing but potatoes. The vast versatility of the potato makes it a testament of the amazing variety and creativity possible in any kitchen. I want this blog to be a creative inspiration for others and a way for others to explore my creative culinary terrain.

Another endearing thing about potatoes is their utter humility. They are plain, simple, unpretentious. If there ever was a symbol for the everydayness of eating and cooking, it would be the brown, lumpy spud. It speaks of heartiness, comfort, and familiarity. "I'm a meat-and-potatoes type," we hear people say when they proclaim their culinary down-to-earth attitude. While I wouldn't call myself a culinary simpleton by any means, I do appreciate how its simplicity is something to notice in the potato. My hope for this blog, that it causes me to reflect on simplicity, on my daily eating, cooking, and writing life.

Why Prose?

M.F.K. Fischer explained that she wrote about food because "our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others" (The Gastronomical Me). Fischer speaks with deep spiritual knowledge here, which is why this passage is so over quoted! (Please forgive me.) Likewise, I want this blog to be a chronicle of basic human need and desire to be loved, to be nourished, to be comforted whether or not it revolves around food or not. However, that said, in all likeliness, Prose and Potatoes will revolve around food because in the kitchen and around the dinner table is where the stuff of life happens.

Welcome to Prose and Potatoes. I hope you enjoy.

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