Lazy Potato Makes Me Mad

Posted on February 9, 2011. Filed under: hodgepodge, rant, review, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Sometimes I see things at the grocery store that make me mad. Alright, pretty much every time I go to the SuperDuperHyperMart I see something that makes me mad. Today it was potatoes.

Clever potato marketers have decided that we are so lazy or stupid we can’t bake a potato without help. If you’re so inclined, there are two items for sale that will (theoretically) make your potato baking endeavors ever so less taxing. Because potato baking is real tough stuff. Life sure is hard in America.

The first one is a “double washed for your convenience” potato wrapped in very shiny gold foil. Oh! Pretty! Saves so much time! You don’t have to wash your potato! Or perform any heavy lifting by wrapping it in foil! Hooray! Pretty! Sadly, all is not happy happy in the world of the super shiny potato. You have to remove the label that tells you how wonderful the potato is. Oooops. That’s as hard as washing a potato, and I thought I was buying the potato so that I didn’t have to go through the very troubling effort of getting my hands wet for 20 seconds. Also, this special potato takes just as long to bake as a potato that hasn’t been pre-wrapped for me. I still have to plan a whole 50 minutes in advance if I want a potato?! Holy hell, potato marketer, who do you think I am?

Good thing I can get a microwave ready potato. Sure, it’s only been washed one time. But hey, I still don’t have to get my hands wet. That would really suck. I don’t have to go through all the horrible trouble of removing a label. That’s good, removing labels is challenging. And it’s ready in 7 minutes. Life is looking up. Sure, I’m microwaving a potato unnecessarily wrapped in plastic, but I don’t care about my health, I care about having my potato as quick as I can.

Why is it that marketers constantly have to pretend to innovate while they’re actually doing nothing special except charging us an extra 20-30 cents per pound? I spent a fair amount of time thinking about value-added products, and these products certainly don’t add any value. Opposite. Shiny foil and microwave plastic put a physical and psychological barrier between us and our food. It’s sad, really. Baking a potato isn’t a chore, and it shouldn’t be looked at like it is. Baking a potato is one of the easiest things you can do in the kitchen. We don’t need pre-packaged potatoes. Just like an apple or a banana, potatoes already come individually wrapped. Plus a potato baked without all the silly bells & whistles shiny plastic wrap tastes better. Happy happy.

To bake a potato:
Heat oven to 425F
Rinse potato, dry it, and prick it a few times with a fork. (You can rub a little oil on the outside if you like, but I don’t.)
Put potato in oven.
Cook for 45 min – 1 hour. (Skin will be crisp, and you should be able to easily pass a fork through center.)
If you’re really super pressed for time, you can microwave a potato for 7-8 minutes. The skin won’t be all crispy and delicious, but it’s still tasty. No creepy plastic wrapping necessary.

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4 Responses to “Lazy Potato Makes Me Mad”

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There you go – a marketer’s idea of “adding value”, which usually translates to adding packaging and wasting energy.

Another easy way to bake potatoes is to give them a scrub, cut into wedges and oil and salt them before baking (they then take a little less time). You can also add chilli and paprika if you are feeling flash and you’ll end up with something much better than a soggy potato covered in plastic…

Adding value can be great for small producers if done in the right way, but this doesn’t add anything. You’re totally right, it’s just adding extra packaging and energy waste!

I’ll have to try cutting them into wedges next time. Sounds like a way to save time and add extra flavor. Now that’s value added!

I agree…but..yes there is a but…for me …just SOMETIMES….baking a potato IS a chore. With a house full of young children, and little to NO help from the “man” of the house, anything that saves us time on a busy school night (even a few minutes) IS a Huge help!……I also use regular old potatos that I need to scrub and peirce myself, and make sliced up roast potato and mashed potato without the added convenience too sometimes. True, in theory…..pre foiled potatos are just ridiculous and uneccessary, but, on a particularily hurried and stressful week day, those little extras…make this Mama extra happy 😉

Fair point Gwen. I still think this is mostly just another example of creating “need” for something that isn’t necessary, but I can also see how the pre-washed potatoes would be a time saver.


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