Top Ten Best Potato-Dominant Food Situations

I ate french fries for lunch every day in 9th and 10th grade, which is how I got so tall! It’s because potatoes were growing inside me. Furthermore, I get stressed out when I have to pick only one potato product at a restaurant when I’m offered multiple side dishes. This is because potato products are the best products in the history of food and are very difficult to compare to each other. Potatoes are definitely on my top five list of Essential Foods along with peanut butter and cheese.


 

My Top Ten Favorite Potato Products

kettle

10. Kettle Potato Chips

One time I asked Laneia if it was okay to have potato chips for breakfast, and she said that it was.


 

This particular photograph I felt makes potato skins look especially sophisticated

This particular photo makes potato skins look especially sophisticated

9. Potato Skins

On a scale of one to ten, these creatures eat your organs from the inside, so I can’t even remember when I last ate some, but I sure do remember what they taste like. Potato Skins are the real Freedom Fries.


 

Tater-tots

8. Tater Tots

I feel like Tater-Tots have developed a connotation with personal pocket storage because of Glee and Napoleon Dynamite. But back in the day, nobody talked about putting tater-tots in their pockets. Instead, my Mom would make them and then I would put them in my mouth and eat them, and say “that was delicious!”


 

hash-browns-3

7. Hash Browns from McDonalds

These are a special reward you can give yourself to say “good job drinking so much last night, aren’t you excited to go open The Macaroni Grill this morning”


 

sweet-potato-fries

6. Sweet Potato Fries

The kind you can buy at the store and make in your own oven, on average, taste about 10% as good as the sweet potato fries they serve in restaurants, specifically Zen Palate in New York and Seva in Ann Arbor and lots of other places too. This is a good way to eat potatoes but still feel like you’re winning the battle against mortality.


 

latkes

5. Latkes

I’m mentioning this because I am Jewish and we have an Agenda. I’ve even published my Jewish Lesbian Mom’s Jewish Lesbian Latkes recipe on this website. I like the Trader Joe’s kind, too. These are best with homemade applesauce and/or sour cream.


 

roasted-red-potatoes

4. Roasted Potatoes

I was actually gonna give this spot to yet another style of french fry or potato wedge, but then I remembered this dish my girlfriend makes and how good the potatoes taste with the brussels sprouts and carrots in the glass dish.


fresh-cut-fries3. Fresh-Cut French Fries

duh


Mashed-Potatoes-016a

2. Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are delicious and can even be fancy. But sometimes being passionate about mashed potatoes makes me feel elderly, but in a good and relaxed way, like a “the OCB* servers know my name” kind of way. Mashed potatoes are usually the best: a) at steakhouse-style restaurants, b) on Thanksgiving, c) when you’ve had oral surgery. I like them with gravy and also with butter, I’m very flexible. When I was a kid my Mom put carrots in my mashed potatoes, maybe because she knew that was the best context in which to slip me some carrots.

*Old Country Buffet


 

unholy

1. Curly Fries

The classic Curly Fry experience is offered by hands down totes Arby’s and like many items on this list, I rarely indulge in these because I think they maybe cause heart disease. Nevertheless Arby’s Curly Fries are supreme beings and the best tasting items ever. My first exposure to curly fries in general happened in the ’80s when this short-lived delivery service, BurgerFresh, came to Ann Arbor. The most exciting part of ordering BurgerFresh was that they always got your order wrong so you never knew what you were gonna get. In 10th grade I had a $2/day Lunch Budget which meant my #1 lunch buy was Curly Fries from DeLong’s BBQ Pit (#2 lunch buy was a bag of Zingerman’s bread ends with mayonnaise, #3 was a grilled cheese and a carton of milk). Now DeLong’s is gone. I remember someone telling me they sold drugs there, but in retrospect, I feel like “someone” made that up. Regardless, I remember thinking, oh that makes sense, because their fries were really cheap, so maybe they make up for it by selling expensive drugs? But also who doesn’t confuse curly fries with drugs sometimes! THEY’RE THAT GOOD.


What are your favorite potato products or contexts in which to eat potatoes? Please tell me all about them in the comments IMMEDIATELY. For example: scalloped potatoes. Ruffles with dip! Okay, now you.

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Riese is the 33-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City, and now lives in The Bay Area. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

Riese has written 1748 articles for us.

111 Comments

  1. Thumb up 4

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    In Australia you can buy potato wedges (or what in the Pacific Northwest we call “jojos”) with sweet chili sauce and sour cream. It’s kind of amazing.

    Also really any fries when you’re drinking beer.

  2. Thumb up 4

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    I used to frequent a bar/restaurant called Sumo in Leicester UK where they only served bangers and mash…but in a million ways. Cajun sausage and coconut mash, ok, cumberland sausage and cheese mash, hell yeah. Pistachio mash was also amazing.

  3. Thumb up 3

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    As a New Zealander I have never tried curly fries. Possibly because “curly chips” doesn’t have the smae ring to it. There’s bags of them in the freezer aisles, but they’re still in that “just arrived from America stage” where they cost twice as much as normal fries. I mean chips.

  4. Thumb up 4

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    Yay potatoes! I love potato wedges, and curly fries as a very occasional treat. I also enjoy Spain’s potato-filled take on the omelette. Also my potato consumption has only increased since meeting my girlfriend, who is probably the biggest potato fan I’ve ever met.

  5. Thumb up 11

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    As an Irish person I feel obliged to point out the brilliance of potato bread and potato cakes.

    However top of my list would be the kind of chip shop chips you get in british and irish chippies. They are thick cut like steak cut chips but they are soft edging on soggy. They are delicious, covered in salt and vinegar. So far superior to thin fries.

    • Thumb up 13

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      HAHAHAHA

      1) if it was “product placement,” the post would be labeled as “sponsored”
      2) i write lists like this a lot, e.g, top ten ways to eat melted cheese, top ten candy situations you can get at a gas station, top ten cookies, and nobody paid me for those either, and really to be honest if anyone were to sponsor those lists, it would be the marijuana farmers
      3) OMG WHAT IF POTATOES WANTED TO ADVERTISE ON AUTOSTRADDLE
      4) i am going to ask our ad salesperson to get in touch with whoever is in charge of potato farmers, i think we are a good target market for potatoes
      5) probs potatoes don’t need to advertise because they are already so excellent and popular

      • Thumb up 6

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        Howdy there, riese! I sure would like to advertise on this website! Got me some tip-top-tastic-tatties I’d like to sell and this website seems the perfect place to do it!
        get in touch, y’all, and we can talk potatoes!
        p.s I think my potato wife is a potato lesbian :(

  6. Thumb up 8

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    1.) The best thing about tater tots is that they taste amazing if you toss them in a little ranch seasoning or put some cheese on them

    2.) I think I’m the only person in America who doesn’t really like potato chips. They give me heartburn and like, there are so many better ways to eat potatoes. C’mon, America.

    3.) A potato situation that often gets neglected is the mashed potato patty. It’s mashed potato usually formed into a patty (shocking, I know) and then you fry it. So it’s crispy on the outside (and buttery, if you fry it up in some butter AND YOU SHOULD), hella mushy on the inside, and then you put gravy on it and thank me later.

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      i have tried inventing mashed potato patties when i have a container of mashed potatoes left over from the night before and i want potatoes with my eggs, i think what i was missing to make that plan succeed was frying it with butter instead of putting it into a pan with cooking spray

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      I made pepper jack cheese mashed potato cakes with purple potatoes a few weeks ago! Fried in butter in a cast iron pan. They were frickin’ amazing. They didn’t need any toppings because of the cheese contained within, but the next time I make plain mashed potatoes I will remember your gravy idea for the leftovers. Yum.

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    I’m currently studying abroad in Germany and after over a month I’m pretty sure my host family has yet to have any meal without potatoes in it. Currently I’m hooked on these french fries from a local Imbiss that are super crunchy and served with the best mayo, but there’s also nothing like my host mom’s potato soup or scalloped potatoes!
    Needless to say, Germany and I are really getting along so far because it’s all potatoes and bread and cheese, which are my 3 favorite food categories.

  8. Thumb up 5

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    This. Forever: These are a special reward you can give yourself to say “good job drinking so much last night, aren’t you excited to go open The Macaroni Grill this morning”

    And the weird part is that whenever I drink too much and have to go to work, I feel very accomplished when I manage to leave my apartment with enough time to get fast food breakfast.

    • Thumb up 1

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      “And the weird part is that whenever I drink too much and have to go to work, I feel very accomplished when I manage to leave my apartment with enough time to get fast food breakfast.”

      yes, this! this exactly. and i don’t even have to look up “when do they stop serving breakfast at mcdonalds” because it’s just that early

  9. Thumb up 6

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    Potatoes are the best. I think the best fries are thin cut served with garlic aioli, though I live in australia and I feel like there aren’t enough options in this regard. Definitely the most troubling of my first world problems

  10. Thumb up 29

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    Mashed potatoes from Riese’s childhood: Yes, I would mash carrots in them and called them “Golden Mashed Potatoes” (but she would eat carrots not in mashed potatoes). It is a totally different flavor than Mashed Potatoes. W/ Gravy, Riese’s Grandma’s homemade gravy to be specific.

  11. Thumb up 6

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    Potatoes! Yum. My favorite ways to eat them are 1. potato and leek soup and 2. Fried hash browns cooked until they are crunchy and with onions from a greasy spoon diner.
    Also, seconded on the Arby’s curly fries.

  12. Thumb up 16

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    OH, I’m sorry, I logged off before I could get in another Ann Arbor fave: Hippie Hash, chopped up potatoes skillet fried with broccoli, mushrooms, peppers, celery, etc. topped with Feta Cheese. The best at 2 a.m.

  13. Thumb up 21

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    This post is so perfect. It could totally be about my life. Once, when I was a little kid, for my birthday dinner we had nothing but potatoes. Baked potatoes, potato wedges, tater tots and mashed potatoes. It’s one of my fondest childhood memories.

  14. Thumb up 5

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    I mostly like this article because I am passionate about this food item and had the nickname Ms. Mashed Potato as a child. I secondly like this article because of all the love given to the Ann Arbor potato scene. It is seriously legit.

    Best Supporting Actress Award should be given to the mayo/Clancy’s dip at Seva because it really takes those sweet potato fries to a supreme level.

    Also I would like to submit the deep-fried mashed potato puffs that they have at Earthen Jar. Every visit to that place was a little bit stressful for me because I was always straining my brain trying to figure out how many potato puffs I could get without breaking my budget because those things were heavy and they charge you by the pound.

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      Oh EARTHEN JAR!! I have been trying to remember the name of that place for approximately 8 years, I went there for its spectacularly cheap buffet on every visit to Ann Arbor throughout high school and then could no longer find it or remember what it was called when I went back there for a wedding recently. I have been telling people about this mythical place forever and am so pleased I have confirmation that it wasn’t all just a dream. (I think it was like $3.50/lb when I went there in the late ’90s/early ’00s?!)

    • Thumb up 2

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      “Ann Arbor potato scene” yes
      Totally in agreement on the Seva dip and Earthen Jar, my vegetarian friends loved Earthen Jar so much
      I also really liked the waffle fries at Red Hot Lovers, which I think is called something else now, and hash browns or french fries at Fleetwood (or as my mom references upthread, the hippie hash), steak fries at Pizza House, and pretty much any kind of french fry at grizzly peak or arbor brewing company (i forget which, maybe both?).
      Also this place Olga’s, which I think is a corporate chain and I’m not sure if they still exist in Ann Arbor (there was one on state street EONS ago, but also one in briarwood), they have really amazing curly fries too.

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        Oh my gosh, Michigan food memory lane. My childhood best friend loved both Olga’s and going to the mall, so we went to the Olga’s in the mall a lot, but we were children and never had more than like $5 so we would just order their delicious bread and drink water. (I’m sure the waitstaff were really happy to have us there!)

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      YESSSSSS. And if you rub the baked potato with a little olive oil and sea salt after you scrub it clean, but before you wrap it in foil? Because you intend to eat the whole potato including the skin no matter how people think you are? DELICIOUS.

  15. Thumb up 6

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    I want you to know, this may have just bumped the Lori Lindsey article from #1 in my heart.

    My current favorite potato situation is the new seasoned fries at Steak ‘n Shake, specifically of the parmesan cheese & herbs variety. I ate them for the first time a couple weeks ago, and basically:

  16. Thumb up 5

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    When I was little, I convinced myself that I didn’t like potatoes and I refused to eat them until I was probably 17 or 18. So the last few years have been me making up for lost time by eating all the french fries, potato chips, hash browns, tater tots, and mashed potatoes I can get my hands on.
    I definitely agree that curly fries should be number one, I don’t even care how many heart attacks they might give me.

  17. Thumb up 3

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    It’s hard for me to explain how happy I am this list exists. The potato may be my favorite food item in the history of food.

    I’m usually not one for tots, but there’s a bar called The Feve in my college town in Ohio that has the most seriously amazing tots you’ve ever had. I go there some nights just wanting a drink but usually cannot resist ordering a giant fuckin bucket of crispy fried potato nubbins.

    Also I know this is bougie as fuck but truffle fries? om nom nom.

  18. Thumb up 6

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    People at work make fun of me for microwaving potatoes. WHY DO MICROWAVES HAVE A POTATO BUTTON, THEN, HUH? I win.

    Microwave potato, add cottage cheese. Instant cheap lunch.

    I second potato cheese soup, even the cold version (vichyssoise).

    Also: potato pizza, not even fronting. Little red potato chunks, white sauce, Gorgonzola, dill, and bacon.

  19. Thumb up 2

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    There is this restaurant here that makes these criss cross cut fries that are like macdonalds hash brown size and have that kinda spicy seasoning that curly fries come with. They remind me that the world can be a good place.

  20. Thumb up 2

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    They make these home fries at the Vassar student center, and they’re a little spicy and have the prefect balance of mush on the inside, crisp on the outside, and I could eat them exclusively forever.

    Also, kettle chips forever. Preferably the Cape Cod kind.

  21. Thumb up 5

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    I actually have Alexa frozen sweet potato fries and when I cooked some of them yesterday I forgot that my oven is questionable. They burnt in half the time they were supposed to cook and I set off the smoke detector because I forgot to put a plastic bag over it(which I do every time).

    so, burnt sweet potato french fries. I guess that’s the best I can do.

    • Thumb up 1

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      i’ve tried making alexa frozen sweet potato fries like 56 times, and they never come out good! either they’re burnt or still sort of half-defrosted, or some of the fries on the pan are charred and the other half are mushy in the center with burnt edges, or something stupid. the best i can seem to do is end up with like one-third of them turning out anywhere near the general realm of “tasty.”

  22. Thumb up 2

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    I’m obsessed with potatoes. Growing up, my kid was on dialysis and couldn’t eat potatoes, so my mom rarely made them, except for latkes during Chanukah. So much sad.

    There’s this new food establishment in NYC called Potatopia. All they make is potatoes in millions of ways.

  23. Thumb up 2

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    I love potatoes! Jojo’s(potato wedges) are one of my favorites. I have so many memories of getting jojo’s from the grocery store with my mom and eating them on our drive home. I also love to make fries at home and put garlic and romano cheese on them.

  24. Thumb up 7

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    OMG the Arby’s curly fries. And Kettle Chips. They’re so much better than regular Lays. And the hashbrowns from McDonald’s. My sister and I used to fight over those..

    Got this at our Farmer’s Market yesterday. It’s flavored sour cream and onion. =)

  25. Thumb up 2

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    This is my favourite post too.
    I’m in NZ and my Mum made some incredible Kumara (Sweet Potato) fritters with cashews, cococonut cream, chili, garlic, caramelised onion and peanut satay sauce, and whooaaah new food number one!!

    Also I love Hasselback potatoes – potatoes cut axially (like a loaf of bread just not all the way to the base, so that they still stay together) and drizzled with olive oil, and mixed herbs and lemon pepper, roasted. YUM!!

    Roasted potatoes done my Nana’s way, with a little brown sugar, salt and pepper to caramelise them while they roast

    Leek and potato soup served hot with parmesan and garlic bread.

    Its breakfast here and Im ages away from any of this dang it. First world problems indeed.

  26. Thumb up 2

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    my hometown likes to claim we invented the curly fry and they are in fact called “long branch” fries at several establishments in town. the older i’ve gotten the more unlikely it seems, but i like to believe it’s still true.

  27. Thumb up 3

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    Ohh man, I know you’re supposed to have poutine when you go to Canada, but I can’t eat that stuff (vegan tears) so when I was in Montreal I had beer battered fries instead. Easily one of the best decisions ever.

    That, and people in Philly need to know about the sweet potato fries with sriracha aioli from HipCityVeg. Those things are dangerous.

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      I’m not a big fan of poutine either, but every time I go back to the homeland I go to Swiss Chalet and have their fries with their oh-my-god-so-fucking-delicious sauce and/or vinegar. The vinegar thing especially. I still find it weird that American restaurants don’t automatically ask if you want vinegar with your fries (or just leave it on the table next to the ketchup).

  28. Thumb up 4

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    You guys seriously. My first email address was MsPotatoHead@hotmail. No joke.

    Ok obviously mashed potatoes and French fries rule all. But shout out to my heritage latkes are amazing (apple sauce, though, seriously.), and also piroshki. That’s just Russian pierogis. My friend’s grandma makes the best ones, and I found out her secret is straight up Pillsbury rolls for the dough.

    But now I don’t eat her delicious piroshki because I’m vegan. I have to make my own but I usually don’t. Life is rough, you guys.

  29. Thumb up 4

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    Ok, ok, wait, wait. How is now one talking about the sheer awesomeness of homemade hashbrowns? I may be a little biased since I just finished eating some, but still.

    Hashbrowns are glorious when served at a diner, but it’s so much more satisfying when you get them just right at home. I discovered that they’re better when you shred them yourself, but I may be a touch masochistic when it comes to making potato dish perfection.

    Also, if someone can share any tips for making scalloped potatoes NOT from a box, I’ll love you forever.

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        I don’t know what you have tried, but if you haven’t tried this it may help :)

        Once the potatoes are grated/shredded, you could place them in a strainer/sieve to drain with a weight on top, and to prevent them from discolouring any acidic type liquid, lemon, lime or a vinegar will prevent discolouration.

        So now I’ve thought about it:

        Before you strain the grated potatoes squeeze some lemon or douse them lightly (as you don’t want the taste to be overpowered by the vinegar/lemon) in vinegar and then let them drain.

        Any pears/apples can also be stopped from discolouring by squeezing lemon over them as well.
        I hope this helps :)

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      I used to have the *sickest* scalloped potato recipe, and I was so stoked to share it with you, but apparently I don’t have it and now I’m pretty upset. The secrets were: slice potatoes with a mandolin to get them nice and thin, and use creme fraiche and a fucking ton of black pepper. I think there wasn’t even cheese, and it was still hella good.

  30. Thumb up 2

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    This requires some planning in order to have all the fillings adequately hot.

    Step 1) make mash potato

    potatoes(leave the skins on)
    swedes(skin off)
    butter
    fresh thyme
    a big hunk of triple cream brie in said mash and let it melt and go goey

    Step 2) triple cooked sweet potato chips (boil, dry, coat in oil and bake, let cool, rebake)

    Step 3) gravy (left over from a roast is best it want to be pretty thick and gunky even borderline lumpy)

    Step 4)dip chips in mash till they are well coated
    Step 5)dip chip and mash combo in gravy till well coated
    Step 6)put mad gloopy combo in a heavily buttered quality light rye sandwich
    step 7)roast chicken is an optional extra on said sandwich

    *you could also grill this sandwich in some bacon fat

  31. Thumb up 1

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    This list is great. Potatoes are great. I’m always torn at restaurants because I usually want my carbs with a side of potatoes. Like a plate of ravioli, that piece of garlic bread it comes with, but also a side of french fries. Or I’ll have a burger but I’ll want both the french fries and the mashed potatoes. And of course there’s always room for lightly salted kettle cooked chips afterwards.

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    My family has a staple potato dish that we call “Marie’s Potatoes” (my aunt Marie’s recipe). It is some sortbaked of shredded potato/cheese hybrid. I could eat my weight in those. My fiancée has said she’s only marrying me for the family recipe.

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    5 of those things are just deep-fried potato! My inner foodie cried a single tear. Food realness kids.

    10. Baked jacket potato – with all the toppings
    9. Spanish tortilla – and similar (spanish omlette, potato galette)
    8. Potato based soups – vichyssoise and all the other kinds
    7. Bubble n squeak – and its variations (colcannon, potato hash)
    6. Creamy mash – particularly garlic mash
    5. Gnocchi
    4. Proper roast potatoes – boiled then roasted a la Heston Blumenthal
    3. Croquettes
    2. Potato bake – also known as gratin or scolloped potatoes
    1. Potato salad – all of them but partial to the retro Australian version.

    Wow, ranking this list was the hardest thing I’ve done all day.

  34. Thumb up 2

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    Apologies to the vegans, but here’s my take on huevos rancheros:

    In one skillet, I make home-style potatoes cooked in coconut oil, with garlic, salt, and black pepper.

    In another skillet, I made a couple of fried eggs over easy, and then melt a piece of cheese on top (havarti, or provolone, or cheddar, or whatever’s lying around- cheddar’s best.)

    Then I put the potatoes on a plate, with the eggs and cheese over top, and then a generous helping of some nice fresh tomato-based salsa.

    The only problem that I have with this recipe is that I have a hard time letting the potatoes cool down a little bit because I want to eat them IMMEDIATELY. But a little burning on the roof of my mouth is worth it.

  35. Thumb up 0

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    There is almost no potato I don’t like (except sweet potatoes, that shit is a yam and needs to get lost), but I have to especially represent my hometown and say: old bay seasoning. On fries especially, but really any potato. Or really anything. Crab chips, y’all.

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