2009 comebacks: Behold the humble mashed potato

Mashed potatoes
Mashed potatoes

Were you aware that the United Nations had declared 2008 as the International Year of the Potato? World wide, the magnificent potato has been gathering increased attention as a highly valuable food crop. In America, we have had a long and delicious relationship with potatoes. We love them fried, steamed, baked, made into dumplings and pancakes, mashed, smashed, stewed, baked into bread and pan fried into hash browns. In these times of mounting economic stress, our regard, reverence and outright love for potatoes has only continued to grow.

When most people think of mashed potatoes, they might envision a big creamy dollop of whipped spuds, crowned with a melting pad of butter on top, nestled next to some sliced beef and green beans. Perhaps they may think of mashed potatoes as the willing receiver of gravy upon a dinner plate delightfully adorned with roast poultry and greens. However, these mealtime scenarios have historically relegated the potato to an undeserved side-dish status. Given the potato's low cost relative to its food value, it's only fitting that mashed potatoes should now be moving into main-dish territory.