The critical side of grocery shopping




“What I say is that, if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.” ― A.A. Milne

A   M A T T E R   O F   P O T A T O E   S E M A N T I C S  ?

I have never driven a tractor, milked a cow , baled hay or gotten eggs from a hen-house.

Even though I enjoy “farm fresh” veggies and produce when it comes to distinguishing one brand of potato from another I totally depend on the folks in the produce department of my local Safeway outlet to give me the skinny  on what’s what.

I had received an advertising circular which highlighted a recipe for a type of potato the article labelled a “baker” potato. The recipe specifically called for this type of potato and NOT a Russet.

My confusion started when I stood in the produce department before bags and bags of Russet potato and not one baker.

I asked a clerk if he could tell me the difference between them. He said they were the same  and continued his conversation with a young female shopper with whom he had been chatting before I so rudely interrupted him.

His cavalier attitude peeved me off but then I figured I would delve into the old potato sack myself and see what I could learn.

The photo above shows the two displays: one for the “bagged ” Russets and the other non bagged potato bakers.

To the casual observer they look the same. My friend Luke whom I spoke with the next day clued me in on the discrepancies.

The Russets are washed, cleaned and placed in a protective plastic bag. Their appeal is visual and they are smaller than the Baker potato I was seeking. The potato Baker has a rough and rugged appearance and suffers from bruising and rough handling.

The Baker potato is the one that goes commando. It is not washed, placed on the shelf as it comes out of the delivery basket and is larger and ideal for grilling. Luke told me that his hands are covered with dirt after he places the spuds on the display shelf.

I was fortunate that day and found two washed and ready to grill Baker potatoes on the shelf which I scooped up immediately. I wondered if they were really Russet potatoes that had inadvertently fled the confines of the plastic bag.

To make a long story even shorter the potato recipe worked just fine and now I know a bit more about the pedigree of the Russet potato versus the baker.

Sometime you just gotta get your hands dirty to dig out the truth.  —  gc



About gc (562 Articles)
Quote of the week: The Bhagavad-Gita calls on humanity to dedicate body, mind and soul to pure duty and not to become mental voluptuaries at the mercy of random desires and undisciplined impulses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

14 Comments on The critical side of grocery shopping

  1. Awesome little tidbit. I love things like this – teasing out the real information that might have been glossed over by assumptions. Along those lines I’ve come to understand that “Kosher” salt is really “Koshering” salt, meant to be used to make certain foods Kosher as per the religious rules. It occurs to me, are all potatoes kosher, since they’re a new world food? The hebrews never would have known about them…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad you enjoyed the article. For me I love discovering those little tidbits in life that many folks accept as everyday. Have a wonderful day.


  2. grocery stores can definitely be an issue by calling food different things, and knowing whether it matches a recipe is tough!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The one “baker” potato I looked at earlier in the week looked like it suffered from scurvy, the skin badly bruised and spots on the spud were soft, bruised and rotting. Not the prfect ingredient for any recipe.


  3. Potato ……Pototo…..I have learned something too now Gerry from reading your article, lol!!! Many thanks my friend! You are a “wealth of knowledge”!! Good job!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • To add confusion to the matter were you aware that the sweet potato and the yam are often confused on the Food Network? I asked my friend Luke the difference. The yam is larger and has an orange interior. It is sweet in itself. The name sweet potato is a misnomer. It is not sweet, smaller than a yam and when used in cooking you should add sweetener to taste. How’s them applles Pat? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. There are many varieties but my fave is the baked sweet potato can’t eat the skin. I also love the large baking potatoes and enjoy eating the crisp skin also after baking.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I definitely learned something about potatoes. Who knew? I would have assumed Russets and bakers were the same. Some potatoes are better baked and do not boil well. Other potatoes are great for boiling, if you want them mashed. Assuming sometimes does get me in trouble, although not too serious. 🙃

    Liked by 1 person

    • I learned that the bagged potatoes have some type of “pedigree”. There are Russetts that are made to be “mashed, boiled, grilled and then just eaten I guess. The label on the bags tell you what they can be used for Robin. Who knew? Enjoy the weekend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks. You, too.


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