Who knew? I didn't, until I got the feed from the Food Museum Blog:
One of the things I've learned as I've tried to become more versed in global food issues, and in the impact of environmental issues on the rest of the world, is to appreciate the work of the United Nations.
Now I learn that they have declared 2008 the year of the potato. Only the year of the winter squash or the year of the asparagus could have made me happier.
I've been feeling for some time that potatoes are getting a bad rap. Used to be that people thought they were fattening. Then we realized that it was the butter, sour cream, oil, cheese, etc. that we cooked and adorned our potatoes with were the big culprits. When I was working in Winnemucca two decades ago, convinced of the value of vegetables and grains in the diet (as opposed to the Atkins greasy meats) I threatened to write a potato diet, complete with lower fat recipes.
Then a few years ago the glycemic index hit the news, and potatoes fell from grace again. Now moderation seems to be creeping back in to dietary recommendations for the affluent - go ahead and eat that potato - just balance it with other foods higher in fiber and protein to slow digestion. Makes sense, doesn't it? I can't imagine anyone eating just potatoes.
Or maybe I can.
The authors of "Plenty" seem to have gotten into the potatoes pretty heavily, starting their 100 mile diet in late winter in Vancouver, B.C. (I am finally reading the book, having waited long for it from the library.)
And potatoes can be a major source of calories and vitamin C for folks who have fewer food resources than those of us living with more than plenty. Plus, if you grow them vertically, you can produce a lot in a small space.