For some reason, about 10 years ago, in the middle of the no-carbs craze, I stopped eating potatoes, along with most pasta, white bread, etc. I’d have mashed on Christmas and Thanksgiving, but would not order meals in restaurants that featured potatoes. Even if I was eating fast food, I’d order a cheeseburger and onion rings, never fries (how stupid is that, really? Battered onion rings! Smart!!) I rarely cook them, and so my kids don’t clamour for them, and even though I realize my anti-potato bias is pretty dumb, I have had a long prejudice against them.
And yet twice this past month, I have steamed what are known as ”new potatoes” — those small, thin-skinned, waxy spuds that are simply the baby versions of mature potatoes. I saw them on display at Trader Joe’s and they looked so sweet and innocent, I couldn’t resist. After steaming them, I tossed them with a bit of butter, chives from my garden and salt and pepper. And OH MY GOD. I have fallen back in love with the lowly potato! When you don’t eat something for the better part of 10 years, it’s quite the revelation to rediscover such simple goodness. They are so delicately flavored and delicious! Last night, I even handed over my piece of salmon to my paramour and just hoovered the lovely little potatoes like I was a freckled redhead named Meaghan O’Riordan from the County Cork eating my first spud since the Potato Famine.
Not only are they delicious, but they have been unfairly maligned from a nutrition standpoint, lumped in with their older, starchier relatives. In fact, the sugars in new potatoes haven’t had enough time to convert into starch, so if you fret about carbs, as I still do, you can rest easy. They are quite low-carb. So you can bake them, fry them, steam them, mash them, etc.
And so this is an apology to those sweet little thin-skinned new potatoes. I should not have discriminated against them all these years. If you see some in your grocery store, snatch them up — but don’t forget the chives!