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By Katherine Kiang
KaTsZoNe Newsletters > KaTsZoNe - Issue 68 - One Potato, Two Potato...

1 Sep 2010

Hey everyone,

Hope you are enjoying the summer months.  Here in Toronto, and all across Ontario, there is so much to see.  I picked up the Ontario Festivals & Events book (April 2010-March 2011) from a tourist office, and I realized that there are absolutely no excuses to have a boring summer.  In fact, there are festivals and events all year-round.  If you are in Ontario, take a look at www.festivalsandeventsontario.ca, go out there and enjoy the rest of the summer and the rest of the year!

At the beginning of August, mom and I went to The 400 Market which is located just south of Barrie.  It's a farmers, merchant/antique market.  It was a great day to drive up, even inspite of the busy traffic.  While we were at the market, there were lots of bargains.  We also bought some cucumbers and potatoes from a local farmer.  Although I rarely eat fries these days, that day, I ordered some fish and chips and received more than I bargained for!  Lots of fries -- not just for me, but, for so many who lined up for mounds of fried potatoes!

On the spur of the moment, mom and I took off for the 37th Alliston Potato Festival, after The 400 Market.  I had never heard of a potato festival in Alliston for all these years and to my great surprise, Alliston was hosting the festival for the 37th year.  I did not even know where Alliston was located, but, I discovered that it was only about a half hour drive from The 400 Market.  After stuffing myself with french fries and buying raw potatoes, how ironic that we would also be attending a potato festival!

The annual Alliston Potato Festival took root on June 14, 1972, when the late David Willis, publisher of the Herald, wrote an article suggesting that the a good way to promote their community was to start a potato festival.  At that time, Alliston was the largest and best potato growing area in Ontario, and probably, in Canada.  (Source: www.allistonpotatofestival.com/thefestival.html)

I don't know what the first festival was like, but, these days, it is a street festival where people come out to enjoy vendors, food (including baked potatoes and fries, of course), and games.  What really amused me was seeing "all dressed" spuds.  I can hear you say, "Bring on the sour cream, chives, bacon bits and cheese!"  Well, I am actually talking about potatoes dressed up in storefront windows!  It appears to be an annual tradition for stores to compete in the potato window dressing in this three-day event.  I hope you will take a peek at some of my photos at xxx [Note: This link is provided only to those on the katszone mailing list]You can click on the individual photos or click on the slider to enlarge the photos.   Let me know which is your favourite star potato.

On the topic of potatoes, I discovered a great fact sheet at http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2770/2 and I think you will be amazed at how nutritious a baked potato (with skin, without salt) is.  From what I can tell, all those wonderful vitamins and minerals in a potato is almost like taking a multivitamin.  Load up on Vitamins A and C, potassium and magnesium.  This is one fact sheet that I think is a keeper! 

I have to be careful of the potato's "inflammation factor", which is also mentioned in the link above.  My former naturopathic doctor advised that someone with psoriasis should eat less vegetables and fruits belonging to the nightshades family as they can aggravate the condition.  Some of the most common nightshades veggies are potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, and many species of sweet and hot peppers.  I have read and heard that people with arthritis should also try and eat less nightshades because of the inflammation factor.  I have experienced less flare ups and itchiness by following my naturopathic doctor's advice.  (Source: www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=62)

So, are you potatoed out yet?  Are you munching on some potato chips or some french fries?  Let me impress you with the following

Who invented potato chips?

In 1853, Native American George Crum, who worked as a chef at an elegant resort in Saratoga Springs, New York, invented potato chips.  A guest ordered fries but found George's fries too thick and sent back his order.  George was, shall we say, quite ticked off.  So, he thought he'd really ruffle some feathers and cut the potatoes too thin and crisp to eat with a fork.  The plan backfired and instead, this new "potato chip" became a big hit!  Sometimes, you just never know where that burst of passion, even when it's not intentionally positive, can land you, eh?  Yay George!!!
(Source: www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/potatochips.htm)

The Secret History of French Fries

George Crum made some fries for a guest at the resort he was working at, but, you may be wondering, when french fries were invented.  It seems to be a bit of a mystery.  The French wanted to take credit.  The Belgians also claim that they invented the now infamous fries.  Even experts have not made a clear cut (or crinkle cut) conclusion.  As far as history goes, by the 1830s, deep fried potatoes became a huge sensation in France and Belgium.  It took another hundred years before it became a huge American hit.  If you are an avid fries fan or you are simply curious about the secret history of fries, read this detailed article at www.stim.com/Stim-x/9.2/fries/fries-09.2.html.  Try not to get too hungry! 

I hope you and your family will enjoy September.  And, even though the kids are going back to school, or you may be going back to school, take some time to have fun with your loved ones because time just flies by too quickly.  Remember that the regrets you may have in life is not what you may have done, but, what you did not do.  So, again, spend time with those you care about most in life. 

Thanks for taking time to spend time with me on KaTsZoNe!  It's been a delectable episode, if I do say so myself!

I look forward to hearing from you soon.




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