By Paul Tran, Courier Staff Writer
Potatoes are a wonderful, versatile food. You can boil them, mash them, or put them in stew. Discovered in America by colonists, the use of these easy growing vegetables has spread and they’ve become a staple food in many countries. Unfortunately modern methods used to prepare these roots are far too delicious. They’re often cooked in excessive oil and grease to make french fries or potato chips. These dishes are high in calories, fat, and sodium, and their popularity in the American diet has become a large cause of obesity.
In the past, potatoes were a staple food in Western civilization due to their year-round availability, difficulty to spoil, and high carbohydrate count, and were later picked up as a main food component by European countries for the same reasons. The importance of the potato in Eastern diets was shown by the Great Potato Famine where a potato blight struck Irish potato plants and caused 750,000 people to die from starvation and disease caused by lack of potatoes. Even more recently, mashed potatoes and baked potatoes are seen as parts of a classic family meal. However, potatoes have shifted into a far different purpose in the modern diet.