As I promised myself during the pandemic, cooking is an essential skill that I should start learning. But also because of the pandemic, this would have to be done virtually, like many other things. You’d be surprised to know that potatoes helped me gain confidence to pursue cooking!
Learning to cook in the middle of a pandemic is a challenge for so many reasons. There’s the supply issue, options availability, even getting to the grocery itself! But you have to start somewhere—in my case with an ingredient that’s so resilient it would be difficult even for me to mess up: potatoes.
Potatoes are just so easy to work with. In the first place, you don’t even need to refrigerate them and they’d still have a long shelf life. And if you bought yours from the grocery, you don’t have to exert too much effort in cleaning them up.
Next, they get along really well with a lot of dishes. Fries or chips go well with sandwiches or fried food, mashed potatoes go well with steaks, barbecues, etc. (just about anything if you ask me), and a lot of our dishes include them like menudo, caldereta, afritada, etc.
For me, they’re “foolproof.” You could just drop them in boiling water for some time and you have a simple snack or a side dish. Or slice them in different ways and fry them and you get anything between fries and chips!
In my case, I got the confidence to get an air fryer because I know that at the very least, I can cook fries in it! And when my air fryer did arrive, the first thing I tried was potatoes. I simply cut some baby potatoes into wedges and ran it as per internet guidance. Success on my first try! Days later, I just boiled what remained of my potatoes and I had a guilt-free snack.
My fascination for potatoes has just increased since I started cooking. I’ve become more curious with other varieties (aside from sweet potatoes that many Filipinos are already familiar with) and eager to learn different ways of preparing it and what to put alongside it. With my air fryer in mind, I’m planning to create my own chips and fries from raw potatoes, and with Christmas coming, learn a few more Noche Buena dishes to put potatoes (in case my experiments fail!).
I’ve written a few articles about the health benefits of potatoes and how we need them now more than ever to help keep us fit and strong. Also, if you’re a runner or an active person like me, potatoes provide the essential nutrients and energy like complex carbs, protein, and potassium to fuel the body and optimize athletic performance.
I’m not sure if others are already doing it but I think potatoes should be a staple ingredient in everyone’s kitchen, alongside tomatoes, garlic, onions, etc. They have a long shelf life, you won’t run out of ways to use them, and they’re nutritious. And it’s the small successes that I’ve had in cooking with potatoes when I was starting that motivated me to pursue cooking.
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