Potatoes: three more reasons to love them apart from French fries

The ultimate comfort food, French Fries have to be the number one thing that I’d want to take with me on a deserted island. While they were not invented in France, deep fried potatoes have an emotional bond with most teenagers across the globe. I remember being fed a steady diet of homemade fries by my housekeeper as Sunday morning breakfast.

My cravings for them contribute to half of my weight issues. However, there is something very deep and poignant about potatoes that I feel compelled to justify their existence in our daily junk-food diet. Have you ever had the urge to binge on chips n dip? 

Given that they are the fourth largest food crops after rice, wheat and maize, Potatoes are featured in global cuisines. Let’s forget the fries and the variations in cheese and other condiments that we can gorge on; Potatoes are used as beauty therapies too.

Potato Skin

If you need to get rid of puffy eyes and dark circles, cold potatoes slice and dabbing bit of the juice under the eyes can do wonders in getting rid of them. Besides being a natural cleanser, imagine this humble tuber being used as treatment for blemishes, wrinkles and sunburns!

The next time you are traveling and run out of your night cream, simply slice some potatoes, soak them in cold water and then place them over your closed eyes. The coolness will not only help with soothing your eyes, the starchy juice from the tuber will help ease out dark circles.

The Potato Herb

In many cases, raw potato juice is used to treat stomach disorders and a purified potato protein powder mixed with water is used in weight loss programs to control appetite. Many doctors recommend introducing mashed potatoes as solid foods for babies, as early as six months. I remember feeding my daughter stuffed potato paratha (an Indian bread), all spiced up with herbs and soft veggies, so that she could get a good mix of healthy nutrients in one go.

A very versatile ingredient, you can make a soup, snack, appetizer, side dish and main course, out of it. On a recent visit to Sweden, our chef at the Fotografiska museum’s restaurant had served us a main dish of potatoes cooked four-ways … boiled baby potatoes smoked and seasoned with aromatics, over a bed of silky-creamy mashed potatoes, teamed with slivers of potatoes rings baked to perfection and garnished with crispy potato slivers. There was only one word to describe the dish – amazing!

Shiny Silver Potato

Still not convinced? Okie, get some potatoes and use them to shine your silverware! Even rusty things and dull shoes get back their swag thanks to potatoes. However, the cake goes to this one integral purpose: cleaning glass. This happened many years ago … it was raining heavily and we were travelling long distance by car and the wipers got wonky midway.

Since there was no help around the bend, I remember my father going up to a local and borrowing some raw potatoes. He cut them up half and rubbed the windscreen with the tuber. The potatoes’ starchy juice helped clear up the muck on the windscreen and prevented the glass from getting too stagnated with the water droplets. Such tricks are very helpful and good to know.

Yes, there is more to potatoes than just fries, hash browns and yummy mashed dishes. So the next time you reach out for some crispy potato chips, know that you are feasting on a king tuber. However, the same cannot be said about Brussels Sprouts … you got to shut up and eat them!