by Stef Jantz, Food Columnist

Ahhh….beautiful potatoes. Read- ing up on the history of these awesome root vegetables, there’s a vast amount of information so I think I’ll skip that part this week and go straight to the variety of the spuds.

There are 4,000 types of potatoes around the world, about 200 in the U.S., and 180 wild potato species. The wild potatoes are bitter and no matter how you make them, are still bitter but are resistant to pests, dis- eases, and climate.

However, there are eight common types we typically see:  russet, sweet, red, white, fingerling, yellow, purple, and petite. With these you can bake, roast, boil, fry, or mash but when it comes to what to make using them, I think of Bubba describing shrimp as they’re scrubbing away with toothbrushes.

Potatoes are a major staple in most households, and they are known to have brought countries out of poverty because they’re easy to grow and reproduce.

They’re filling and have many health benefits so not only are they good, they’re good for you. Ready for this because I didn’t know it was that beneficial. They’re high in fiber, help digestion, reduce cholesterol, boost heart health, strengthen immune system, reduce signs of aging (what?!), protect the skin, increase circulation, reduce blood pressure, maintain fluid balance, and reduce insomnia. They are rich in potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidants.

They were big back in the early days because the vitamin C prevented scurvy. Aaarrrgggghhhh…

With potatoes being extremely diverse, what’s the best way you like them? First thing that comes to mind is potato salad.

Everyone and their mother has their own way of making theirs but I’d love to share my family recipe that was handed down to my siblings and me. It’s crunchy, a little sweet, and of course, has bacon!

Grab you about four or five russet potatoes and cut them into 1⁄2 in bites and boil them in water until they’re nice and soft. I’ve used red potatoes for this too and it was awesome.

Originally, our family recipe said to peel the skins off but I like to keep them on because it’s extra fiber. Drain the water and place those babies in a large bowl. I know a lot of people use mayo as do I, but this is the one and only time I will ever use Miracle Whip and it’s worth it. I can’t stand the stuff but it really does this salad some good.

Ok, you’ll need about one cup or cup and a half of miracle whip, a few squirts of yellow mustard, chop up a few boiled eggs, about three, and chop up some crispy bacon, and bread and butter pickles. Seasonings I use are season salt, granulated garlic, and some black pepper. For an added flavor explosion, add some of that pickle juice and bacon grease.

Not only does it add flavor, but the pickle juice will help cut down some of the starch from the potato since it’s vinegar, and thin it out some to make it a good creamy and not a “oh my gosh, this is too thick to eat” creamy.

It tastes the best if you let it sit overnight to let the flavors marinate and this salad is great when it’s slightly warmed up too.

Add or subtract what you like to your tasting and dig in!

RECIPE:

*4 or 5 Russet Potatoes *1- 11⁄2 c Miracle Whip *2 TBSP Yellow Mustard *3 Eggs, boiled

*6 crispy slices of bacon

*1⁄2 c chopped bread and butter pickles

*Pickle juice *Season Salt *Granulated Garlic *Black Pepper