Like many strangely compelling trends, it all started as a silly hashtag.
#Potatoesforpresident was a random phrase that popped into my head during the previous election cycle, a small nod to my frustration over lackluster candidate options. Tinged with a whiff of frustration and the omnipresent craving for comfort, potatoes just stood out as the spuds for the job.
Potatoes themselves are diverse, proliferating across the globe in all colors of the rainbow. Far beyond white waxy varieties, purple, orange, yellow, and more speak to a wider range of flavors than just basic bland starch.
Endlessly adaptable, versatile, and accommodating, most potatoes can be eaten either cooked or raw, hot or cold. Spiralized, roasted, boiled, steamed, baked, scalloped, simmered, sauteed, mashed, fried, dried, juiced, distilled, blended, or stuffed, your humble potato is there for you, ready for the job.
Persevering through the bleakest of harvests, they’ve withstood the test of time. Unlike most fresh produce, they’ll keep at room temperature for months in the right conditions, good as the day they were unearthed. Potatoes are there for you when you need them, no matter what.
It’s never been more important to vote, so make it count. I’ll still be going to the polls to cast a real ballot on November 3rd, but at home, I’m always going to back this culinary campaign. #Potatoesforpresident, until we get someone in the Oval Office with even slightly more of a brain.
Here are a few of my favorite spuds to keep you company in the meantime.
Tender potatoes are served warm, tossed with meaty “sausage” crumbles simmered in a bit of the golden elixir itself, contrasted by the crisp bite of tart green apple and the satisfyingly sour foil of fresh sauerkraut. A simple mustard vinaigrette brings everything together, without weighing the dish down.
Crisp strands of spiralized potato and daikon radish intertwine in this light, bright, summery salad.
There's no wrong way to bake a potato, but the crispy, savory tofu toppers really turn the humble spuds into a memorable meal.
This creamy pink salad can be served as a side or an entree, but rest assured that it will steal the spotlight in any meal. Garbanzo beans, while not a traditional addition, introduce uncommonly good flavor, texture, and nutrition.
Greens enveloped in a luscious Indian sauce couldn’t be a tastier topping for smashed potatoes. Of course, you can substitute sweet potato for the golden potato, if you prefer. A simple salad of chickpeas, cucumbers, and tomatoes is the perfect companion.
Nikujaga, literally "meat and potatoes," is classic home cooking for the soul. Little more than root vegetables, protein, and aromatics, it's a foolproof, one-pot dish that everyone will love. Double it for a crowd, halve it if you're short on ingredients, prepare it in advance, or freeze in portions and thaw out as needed; it's infinitely adaptable and mercifully flexible.
Easy, creamy, comforting soup rich with potato and leek goodness. One spoonful will brighten your mood and if you're feeling under the weather, it could possibly cure what ails you, too.
Tender yet toothsome purple potato dumplings, brightened with a pinch of fresh dill.
Creamy Japanese sweet potatoes take on greater dimension with umami notes of soy sauce, sesame, and rice vinegar in this easy eggless pie.
Inspired by a favorite takeout dish, Bombay Aloo, this nontraditional take on the standard Chanukah staple will make it hard to go back to plain potatoes. Brightened with piquant jalapeno and a complex blend of garam masala, they’re just spicy enough to add excitement without setting the most timid of palates on fire.
Boldly magenta, or perhaps violently violet, purple potatoes, black quinoa, and red cabbage join forces to create a stew of a different hue. Delicious as it is visually stunning, I knew right away that this was no average stone soup, setting to work recording my recipe for future reference.
These are no mere mashed potatoes; these spuds are far richer and more decadent, to be doled out in small portions for special occasions that demand such lavish excess.