Quick Recipes and Easy

This Spud’s For You

Excellent Eats episode This Spud’s For You takes a look at the staple of American eating, the potato. The episode features, besides Alton Brown as himself, Deborah Duchon the cultural anthropologist that frequents the show, Sally Bernhardt as a store clerk, and John Gregario as the mime and juggler. It originally aired at July 14th 1999.

Like with many of the shows, Alton Brown starts off with a brief history of the potato and its origins. Originating in South America, the Spaniards took the spud back to Europe where the Irish apparently took to it immediately. Eventually, as you well know, the potato found its way virtually all over the world, and is a staple in the United States. Deborah Duchon, cultural anthropologist, makes an appearance to clarify that potatoes are really a domesticated form of a highly poisonous plant.

The next segment of the show is where AB breaks down the food. Potatoes are marketed under a number of names by color, origin, etc. Brown talks about what the real differences are, and that is in the amount of starch each kind contains. He goes on to clarify fantastic potato recipes like mashed potatoes (using a combination of russet and red potatoes), baked potatoes, and finally a gratin with the potatoes. All in all, it is one of the better tri-vectors of Excellent Eats ever.

Though not as dynamic early on as some episodes, this certainly meets the Excellent Eats formula for success, which is taking the simple and making it dynamic. We often take potatoes for granted, but in this episode, Alton Brown makes it clear that this root veggie can be versatile and tasty.

Tip of the episode: Mashed potatoes need essentially two things to work: dairy and stout. To get a excellent flavor, try using low stout buttermilk. It is tangy and rich and will make for a fantastic bowl of mashed potatoes next family get together.

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