Gourmet Potatoes

Having always been drawn to books, magazines and ephemera – I have amassed a fairly good start on a resource library for plants and food.   Having a chatty advocate (my mother) is very handy when building such a collection.

Years ago a neighbor was cleaning out the garage and had decided to let go of her stash of Gourmet Magazines-40 years of gourmet wonder.  Chatty Advocate happened by at the right moment and scooped them up for me, a culinary intern.

Years ago when I was cleaning out the garage, an executive decision needed to be made-hang on to all issues from 1940’s through the 1960’s.  Throw away 70’s and 80’s.  Fast forward to last summer when book seller Sean hands me a box filled with Gourmet Magazines from the 1970’s.  I took it as a sign, and started reading them.  The Universe wanted me to have these issues and I think I discovered why.

James Beard articles and fabulous references to the specialty crops available, or should I say not available.  And of course the writing!  The research, information and attention to detail is wonderful!  Oh, and the ads and the graphics and the traveling those writers got to do!

I was drawn to this one for the cover photograph of eggs.  It is part of a story on Cornwall, England and the small farms.  Now I want to go to Cornwall, England.

The James Beard article was all about potato dishes.  He comments there are only two kinds of potatoes available, russets and new.  Oh how times have changed!  Farmers Markets have an incredible array – but even Trader Joe’s and most grocers now offer many choices from russets and red new potatoes to fingerlings, yukon gold, yellow, white, and even purple.

Makes me want to start a whole bed of potatoes!  Peaceful Valley, Seed Savers or even the farmers market are great for purchasing starts or seed potatoes.  If they are small, plant the whole potato.  If you cut them up, make sure there are two or three growth eyes and let them callus over before planting.

I am going to try a modified Scandinavian method and plant in towers with a mostly straw growing medium.  They are going in late for So Cal, but I will plant on a north facing wall and hope for the best!  Keep you posted.

Now, Pommes Anna for dinner!


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