Starch your engines!
There’s more to the humble potato than meets the eye. The potato is everyone’s friend. It’s your mum’s go-to side dish when she’s had a long day at work and wants to (s)mash the fuck out of something. It’s the large fries you eat at 4am after a hectic night on the DF. It’s even the gnocchi you re-heat for your girlfriend to make her think you’re cultured even though you pronounced it with the G. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. But the lil dirt covered spud-bud is a diamond in the rough. It’s the tastiest, potentially healthy, most versatile goddamn vegetable our beautiful crops have to offer. The tater is your guide, leading you towards a slightly more sustainable existence.
The Youth Food Movement is an organisation teaching young australians about their food. From how to cook, read the labels, make sustainable choices and support our farmers, YFM want to reconnect us to our food and give us an understanding of where food comes from. That’s where the Potato Social came in.
With a ticket in hand, an empty stomach and my most hipster-ish jeans clinging to my butt, I was ready to go learn about spuds and how to improve my environmental footprint. As much as I like to think I’m an environmentalist, I still have a long way to go. I had no clue that there were ways to have a compost bin inside, let alone get one with at least a 50% discount from your local council just because you were giving it a whirl. Another thing I learnt from the gals at the Compost Revolution booth was that citrus fruit in compost bins can burn worms because they don’t have skin. Poor lil guys.
During the evening there were talks from sustainability legend Michael Mobbs,who has transformed his Chippendale home into a completely self-sufficient energy source using solar panels, rainwater and water recycling. Along with ‘Fuck me, Australia’s a dry country’, Michael showed us how we can all grow our own potatoes at home. Almond Bar’s Sharon Salloum gave a hands-on demo of how to make vegan potato Kibbeh then handed out a bunch of forks so we could try it and let me tell you fam, it was lit.
In between playing with play dough to create foods that match perfectly with potatoes (everything, duh), quizzing the guys from Great Roots about which potato variety is the best for baked fries (Royal blue, apparently) and trying a bunch of tater-based vegan goodies, I spent my evening chatting to new people that are passionate about sustainability.
The YFM believe that every little thing can help, and that perspective is so encouraging. I left feeling motivated and ready to grow potatoes in my room. We’ll see how it goes.
But hey, if your thumb ain’t green, give this recipe a try. I guarantee you won’t find a tastier way to use up potato scraps.
Potato Peel Chips
by YFM Member Kate Jackson
- Peelings from 2 potatoes
- Two teaspoons of olive oil
- Pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Celsius.
2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick foil.
3. Gently toss the peelings with the olive oil. Place on a single layer on the baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt.
4. Bake for about 15 minutes or so, watching carefully to make sure they don’t get too brown.
5. Remove when they are crispy and serve at once.
Laura is a 21-year-old Italian grandmother who likes coffee, going to bed early and snapchat filters. Follow her on Instagram @laurajmasia.