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The Potato Museum

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"Addicted to Spuds"

Music by Weird Al Yankovic and used by permission

Mashed, Baked, Boiled, Fried etc

  • Van Gogh's "Potato Eaters"
  • Baked Potato Vendor: a popular early 20th tradition in English cities
  • Bowl of boiled potatoes by Vincent Van Gogh
  • Space Age Potato Baker, circa 1950s
  • Potato Nests
  • German Potato Dumplings
  • Cornish Potato Pasty
  • The Baked Potato Nightclub, Los Angeles
  • Mashed potato sandwich

Pommes de Terre Soufflees

Puff potato pockets are served in potato baskets as an appetizer at New Orleans' venerable Antoine's Restaurant. The potatoes (left) are served in woven and fried potato peel baskets with a hunk of bread as a base.


The history of puffed potatoes or pommes soufflees has to do with a King of France being late to lunch on a journey once and a harried cook having to improvise something special when the rest of the meal was ruined.

"Aged" potatoes are cut in rectangles using a mandolin cutting blade, 
rinsed in cold water, deep fried and switched to hotter oil at first sign of puffing.

Potato items on the menu include:

Vichyssoise $6.25/$7.25
The classical cold potato soup (flavored with
chicken broth and finished with heavy cream)

Pommes de terre au gratin $6.25
Potatoes in a rich cream sauce baked in a
casserole with a light cheese gratinee

Pommes de terre brabant $6.00
Little diced potatoes fried and served with melted butter

Pommes de terre soufflees $6.25
The classical Antoine's dish fried potato puffs.

Fries

 

About Belgian Fried Potato Stands

"As a couple of hungry customers wait in line, Jean-Paul Desmiet eases a kilo of sliced potatoes into a sizzling vat of vegetable grease, which bubbles with volcanic fervor. The unmistakable aroma of french fries, known here as frites, pours out of the cramped, open-air stand at a busy intersection in Brussels. While traffic lights change and cars roar by, Mr. Desmiet uses a giant spatula to skillfully nudge the frites around the vat, and then scoops them up in a smooth motion, depositing the new french fries into a steel wok, where they glisten under the somber light of another cloudy day in Belgium. ''This,'' says Mr. Desmiet, shaking some salt onto the fries as he hands them to a customer, ''is a Belgian tradition.''

Indeed it is. Scenes such as this one, which took place at the family-run Friterie Antoine, happen virtually every minute in Belgium, a country whose voracious frite-eating make it without dispute the Land of the Frites. There are no less than 7,000 frite stands in Belgium, or one for every 1,285 frite lovers in this country of 10 million people. This probably constitutes a world record, but nobody really keeps tabs on these kinds of things - and it's not something that Belgium is keen to publicize. That is mainly because this country suffers from a case of culinary schizophrenia: it both loves and reviles the frite. "

From a 1986 NY Times report by Peter Maass. 

 

Peelers

 

KP: Kitchen Patrol


"The Potato Circle" (1890's)

French soldiers socializing as they peel potatoes.
New recruits were often photographed in group activities
such as preparing food. Each soldier had the opportunity
to buy copies of the photo to send to friends and family.

 
American soldiers are usually shown peeling potatoes alone, 
often as some sort of punishment. This card is WW2 era.