By Leigh O’Connor.
Do you know what a hangi is? All the Kwokkers (Kiwi-Okkers) out there know exactly what I’m talking about and none more so than Attica mastermind Ben Shewry, who grew up across the ditch.
His recipe for potato cooked in earth is how to replicate a hangi – where fish, chicken, pork and root vegetables are cooked underground on hot stones - in the oven at home and the perfect way to celebrate National Potato Day, on Thursday August 19.
Potatoes have been a popular and staple food for centuries – mashed, chipped or covered in cheese, they can be eaten with just about every meal…or as a meal!
A delicious and easy way to get iron, potassium and vitamin C, potatoes have also left their mark on history as the first vegetable grown in space.
To help celebrate all things spud on Thursday, here are five more fun facts about these tasty taters:
•When you buy them, potatoes are still alive, in a dormant state. Warmth and moisture cause the spuds to start sprouting, which is why you are supposed to keep them cool and dry.
•Potatoes aren’t just for eating…Incan lore says if you carried a tuber with you, it can prevent rheumatism and soothe a toothache.
•Potato chips were invented by mistake – in 1853 at Saratoga, New York a grumpy railroad mogul Cornelius Vanderbilt sent his thick-cut potatoes back to the kitchen. The annoyed Chef George Crum sliced the spuds as thinly as he could, fried them in oil with some salt and turned them into crispy potatoes. Vanderbilt loved them so much, the Chef’s revenge turned into one of the world’s most popular snack foods.
•Sweet potatoes aren’t really potatoes – they are actually part of the Morning Glory family and classed as swollen roots.
•Potatoes were worth their weight in gold during the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897 as miners believed they could stave off scurvy.
Don’t be a couch potato or spec-tater on Thursday…get your chips together and celebrate with your soil-mate!