A culinary online center dedicated to promoting the importance and the joy of American home cooking with an emphasis on local products and talent, celebrating the unique spirit and energy of the new food world ethos, especially in Vermont.

amuse bouche

I love quotes that add meaning to my life. Here are a few to live by:

Americans who have been to France and come home craving a reminder of their magical European experience, love Vermont cheeses.
—Allison Hooper, founder, VT Butter & Cheese Creamery

Practice not cleaning your plate: it will help you eat less in short term and develop self-control in the long term.
—Michael Pollan

Sweet taste buds develop before all others, that’s why small children love sweets.
—Bronwyn Dunne

Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of milk.
—Michael Pollan

My rule of thumb is, when in doubt, cook more than you think you may need.
—Marian Cunningham, from Learning to Cook


Potatoes from Peru: An Ancestral Flavor Reclaimed

IMG_3341a

Sometimes my interest in the environment and my interest in food coincide so perfectly I have to just sit back and enjoy the experience. In this case, good friends, Lisa Farrell and Gary Harrison decided to spend three years in Peru so that Gary, who writes about international agriculture and development, could work with the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru.

When I asked Gary to send me a list of the internationally best-known potatoes —I was looking for a list similar to the one I’d posted about tomatoes last summer— he replied that there were thousands of potato varieties, too many to list. But, our conversation led to my interest in an article Gary sent to me about the return of dehydrating potato process that was a common way of preserving potatoes in the cold, dry weather of the Peruvian winter. It creates a preserved potato that is chalky white but firm and easy to cook. Nouvelle Peruvian cuisine now uses this style of preserved potato called chuño to make soups, stews and side dishes that are delicious and retain the same nutrition that allowed the ancient Peruvians to dominate a large part of South America and create a thriving civilization hundreds of years ago. 

I hope you enjoy Gary’s story of chuño (below) and find useful the lists of potatoes culled from the thousands available.

One last thought about chuño: In a world concerned about the sourcing of food, chuno could be one answer.  Perhaps the food entrepreneurs of Vermont, whose enthusiasm for what is new and local is infectious, could take a look at the process. What is old is new, again!

A Source of Chuno: LatinMerchant.com in Seattle, Washington

Potato Varieties:

Grey Line

churo potato photos

Cold Comfort – Chuño
By Gary Harrison

In this part of the agricultural world, the exchange rate of toil and tillage is rarely equitable. A bumper crop of anxiety grows unchecked from one year to the next, and food security is the worry that sits always at the dinner table. For the thousands of farmers scattered high in the Peruvian Andes, the humble potato has always been the crop that’s fed their family. No surprise: the potato as we know it started here, and hundreds of wild and cultivated varieties are still at the core of rural livelihoods and diets.

Like the farmers who grow them, there are a few hundred varieties that thrive in the harsh, chilly altitudes of up to 4,300 meters above sea level—about as high as Mt. Shasta. In villages from central to southern Peru, these small, powerhouse potatoes undergo a traditional process known as chuño, a form of freeze drying that allows them to be stored and eaten for up to 10 years. To produce chuño, farmers harvest the potatoes by hand in June and July and spread them out in batches. The potatoes are exposed to an extreme combination of severe nighttime frosts and prolonged sunny days and the thin air’s low humidity. Once the potatoes are “soft,” farmers walk on them to squeeze out the remaining moisture and the natural, bitter-tasting glycolalkaloids. The tubers are finally washed in fresh stream or river water to dilute remaining unwanted solutes, dried, and then rubbed against each other to remove the remaining bits of skin. After about a month, you have a powdery white—that’s the starchy residue now brought to the surface—potato roughly the size and shape as our “chef’s potato” variety. 

Chuño is typically boiled or served in soups and stews. It is easy to digest and provides important calcium and iron that Andean families may not otherwise get from their limited diets. Like quinoa, another traditional Andean food that has found a receptive global palate, chuño is starting to make its way to urban markets discovering inventive Peruvian cuisine. Think of chuño as a new twist on the classic mashed potato. 

“White Gold”

White chuño, also called tunta, was first processed in the Andes by the Aymaras hundreds of years ago. Sometimes referred to as “white gold,” the dehydrated potato helped extend the limited seasonality of the usual potato supply and became the most important financial resource of the time to supply investments and make payments in all of the Inca Empire. Centuries later, the tunta turned into the main “fuel” that every day fed the thousands of hungry miners working across the entire Andean region.

Chuño continues to be a basic part of the everyday diet of the entire Peruvian Andes, from north to south, where it forms part of the regional culinary culture. The cities of Arequipa, Cuzco, and Puno have developed typical regional dishes in which white chuño contributes a spongy texture and special taste that blends deliciously with other Andean vegetables, fruit, meat, and spices.

Gary Harrison thanks Stef De Haan, the global science leader for genetic resources at the International Potato Center, for source material and photographs about chuño.

 Grey Line

The Story of Potatoes Continues…. 

The story of potatoes continues next week when I will include a new video that my friend Janet Biehl made, of my stepmother, Judith Jones and me making potato salad at the end of last summer up in the Northeast Kingdom, here in Vermont. Two recipes for the salads will be posted as well: the French version made with warm potatoes and served at room temperature, and the American version with lots of mayonnaise, cucumber and radishes. Who knows, maybe we will have a heat wave Easter Weekend!

A Bientot,

Posted: 3-16-2013

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IMG_3341a

Sometimes my interest in the environment and my interest in food coincide so perfectly I have to just sit back and enjoy the experience. In this case, good friends, Lisa Farrell and Gary Harrison decided to spend three years in Peru so that Gary, who writes about international agriculture and development, could work with the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru.

When I asked Gary to send me a list of the internationally best-known potatoes —I was looking for a list similar to the one I’d posted about tomatoes last summer— he replied that there were thousands of potato varieties, too many to list. But, our conversation led to my interest in an article Gary sent to me about the return of dehydrating potato process that was a common way of preserving potatoes in the cold, dry weather of the Peruvian winter. It creates a preserved potato that is chalky white but firm and easy to cook. Nouvelle Peruvian cuisine now uses this style of preserved potato called chuño to make soups, stews and side dishes that are delicious and retain the same nutrition that allowed the ancient Peruvians to dominate a large part of South America and create a thriving civilization hundreds of years ago. 

I hope you enjoy Gary’s story of chuño (below) and find useful the lists of potatoes culled from the thousands available.

One last thought about chuño: In a world concerned about the sourcing of food, chuno could be one answer.  Perhaps the food entrepreneurs of Vermont, whose enthusiasm for what is new and local is infectious, could take a look at the process. What is old is new, again!

A Source of Chuno: LatinMerchant.com in Seattle, Washington

Potato Varieties:

Grey Line

churo potato photos

Cold Comfort – Chuño
By Gary Harrison

In this part of the agricultural world, the exchange rate of toil and tillage is rarely equitable. A bumper crop of anxiety grows unchecked from one year to the next, and food security is the worry that sits always at the dinner table. For the thousands of farmers scattered high in the Peruvian Andes, the humble potato has always been the crop that’s fed their family. No surprise: the potato as we know it started here, and hundreds of wild and cultivated varieties are still at the core of rural livelihoods and diets.

Like the farmers who grow them, there are a few hundred varieties that thrive in the harsh, chilly altitudes of up to 4,300 meters above sea level—about as high as Mt. Shasta. In villages from central to southern Peru, these small, powerhouse potatoes undergo a traditional process known as chuño, a form of freeze drying that allows them to be stored and eaten for up to 10 years. To produce chuño, farmers harvest the potatoes by hand in June and July and spread them out in batches. The potatoes are exposed to an extreme combination of severe nighttime frosts and prolonged sunny days and the thin air’s low humidity. Once the potatoes are “soft,” farmers walk on them to squeeze out the remaining moisture and the natural, bitter-tasting glycolalkaloids. The tubers are finally washed in fresh stream or river water to dilute remaining unwanted solutes, dried, and then rubbed against each other to remove the remaining bits of skin. After about a month, you have a powdery white—that’s the starchy residue now brought to the surface—potato roughly the size and shape as our “chef’s potato” variety. 

Chuño is typically boiled or served in soups and stews. It is easy to digest and provides important calcium and iron that Andean families may not otherwise get from their limited diets. Like quinoa, another traditional Andean food that has found a receptive global palate, chuño is starting to make its way to urban markets discovering inventive Peruvian cuisine. Think of chuño as a new twist on the classic mashed potato. 

“White Gold”

White chuño, also called tunta, was first processed in the Andes by the Aymaras hundreds of years ago. Sometimes referred to as “white gold,” the dehydrated potato helped extend the limited seasonality of the usual potato supply and became the most important financial resource of the time to supply investments and make payments in all of the Inca Empire. Centuries later, the tunta turned into the main “fuel” that every day fed the thousands of hungry miners working across the entire Andean region.

Chuño continues to be a basic part of the everyday diet of the entire Peruvian Andes, from north to south, where it forms part of the regional culinary culture. The cities of Arequipa, Cuzco, and Puno have developed typical regional dishes in which white chuño contributes a spongy texture and special taste that blends deliciously with other Andean vegetables, fruit, meat, and spices.

Gary Harrison thanks Stef De Haan, the global science leader for genetic resources at the International Potato Center, for source material and photographs about chuño.

 Grey Line

The Story of Potatoes Continues…. 

The story of potatoes continues next week when I will include a new video that my friend Janet Biehl made, of my stepmother, Judith Jones and me making potato salad at the end of last summer up in the Northeast Kingdom, here in Vermont. Two recipes for the salads will be posted as well: the French version made with warm potatoes and served at room temperature, and the American version with lots of mayonnaise, cucumber and radishes. Who knows, maybe we will have a heat wave Easter Weekend!

A Bientot,

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IMG_3341a

Sometimes my interest in the environment and my interest in food coincide so perfectly I have to just sit back and enjoy the experience. In this case, good friends, Lisa Farrell and Gary Harrison decided to spend three years in Peru so that Gary, who writes about international agriculture and development, could work with the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru.

When I asked Gary to send me a list of the internationally best-known potatoes —I was looking for a list similar to the one I’d posted about tomatoes last summer— he replied that there were thousands of potato varieties, too many to list. But, our conversation led to my interest in an article Gary sent to me about the return of dehydrating potato process that was a common way of preserving potatoes in the cold, dry weather of the Peruvian winter. It creates a preserved potato that is chalky white but firm and easy to cook. Nouvelle Peruvian cuisine now uses this style of preserved potato called chuño to make soups, stews and side dishes that are delicious and retain the same nutrition that allowed the ancient Peruvians to dominate a large part of South America and create a thriving civilization hundreds of years ago. 

I hope you enjoy Gary’s story of chuño (below) and find useful the lists of potatoes culled from the thousands available.

One last thought about chuño: In a world concerned about the sourcing of food, chuno could be one answer.  Perhaps the food entrepreneurs of Vermont, whose enthusiasm for what is new and local is infectious, could take a look at the process. What is old is new, again!

A Source of Chuno: LatinMerchant.com in Seattle, Washington

Potato Varieties:

Grey Line

churo potato photos

Cold Comfort – Chuño
By Gary Harrison

In this part of the agricultural world, the exchange rate of toil and tillage is rarely equitable. A bumper crop of anxiety grows unchecked from one year to the next, and food security is the worry that sits always at the dinner table. For the thousands of farmers scattered high in the Peruvian Andes, the humble potato has always been the crop that’s fed their family. No surprise: the potato as we know it started here, and hundreds of wild and cultivated varieties are still at the core of rural livelihoods and diets.

Like the farmers who grow them, there are a few hundred varieties that thrive in the harsh, chilly altitudes of up to 4,300 meters above sea level—about as high as Mt. Shasta. In villages from central to southern Peru, these small, powerhouse potatoes undergo a traditional process known as chuño, a form of freeze drying that allows them to be stored and eaten for up to 10 years. To produce chuño, farmers harvest the potatoes by hand in June and July and spread them out in batches. The potatoes are exposed to an extreme combination of severe nighttime frosts and prolonged sunny days and the thin air’s low humidity. Once the potatoes are “soft,” farmers walk on them to squeeze out the remaining moisture and the natural, bitter-tasting glycolalkaloids. The tubers are finally washed in fresh stream or river water to dilute remaining unwanted solutes, dried, and then rubbed against each other to remove the remaining bits of skin. After about a month, you have a powdery white—that’s the starchy residue now brought to the surface—potato roughly the size and shape as our “chef’s potato” variety. 

Chuño is typically boiled or served in soups and stews. It is easy to digest and provides important calcium and iron that Andean families may not otherwise get from their limited diets. Like quinoa, another traditional Andean food that has found a receptive global palate, chuño is starting to make its way to urban markets discovering inventive Peruvian cuisine. Think of chuño as a new twist on the classic mashed potato. 

“White Gold”

White chuño, also called tunta, was first processed in the Andes by the Aymaras hundreds of years ago. Sometimes referred to as “white gold,” the dehydrated potato helped extend the limited seasonality of the usual potato supply and became the most important financial resource of the time to supply investments and make payments in all of the Inca Empire. Centuries later, the tunta turned into the main “fuel” that every day fed the thousands of hungry miners working across the entire Andean region.

Chuño continues to be a basic part of the everyday diet of the entire Peruvian Andes, from north to south, where it forms part of the regional culinary culture. The cities of Arequipa, Cuzco, and Puno have developed typical regional dishes in which white chuño contributes a spongy texture and special taste that blends deliciously with other Andean vegetables, fruit, meat, and spices.

Gary Harrison thanks Stef De Haan, the global science leader for genetic resources at the International Potato Center, for source material and photographs about chuño.

 Grey Line

The Story of Potatoes Continues…. 

The story of potatoes continues next week when I will include a new video that my friend Janet Biehl made, of my stepmother, Judith Jones and me making potato salad at the end of last summer up in the Northeast Kingdom, here in Vermont. Two recipes for the salads will be posted as well: the French version made with warm potatoes and served at room temperature, and the American version with lots of mayonnaise, cucumber and radishes. Who knows, maybe we will have a heat wave Easter Weekend!

A Bientot,

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IMG_3341a

Sometimes my interest in the environment and my interest in food coincide so perfectly I have to just sit back and enjoy the experience. In this case, good friends, Lisa Farrell and Gary Harrison decided to spend three years in Peru so that Gary, who writes about international agriculture and development, could work with the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru.

When I asked Gary to send me a list of the internationally best-known potatoes —I was looking for a list similar to the one I’d posted about tomatoes last summer— he replied that there were thousands of potato varieties, too many to list. But, our conversation led to my interest in an article Gary sent to me about the return of dehydrating potato process that was a common way of preserving potatoes in the cold, dry weather of the Peruvian winter. It creates a preserved potato that is chalky white but firm and easy to cook. Nouvelle Peruvian cuisine now uses this style of preserved potato called chuño to make soups, stews and side dishes that are delicious and retain the same nutrition that allowed the ancient Peruvians to dominate a large part of South America and create a thriving civilization hundreds of years ago. 

I hope you enjoy Gary’s story of chuño (below) and find useful the lists of potatoes culled from the thousands available.

One last thought about chuño: In a world concerned about the sourcing of food, chuno could be one answer.  Perhaps the food entrepreneurs of Vermont, whose enthusiasm for what is new and local is infectious, could take a look at the process. What is old is new, again!

A Source of Chuno: LatinMerchant.com in Seattle, Washington

Potato Varieties:

Grey Line

churo potato photos

Cold Comfort – Chuño
By Gary Harrison

In this part of the agricultural world, the exchange rate of toil and tillage is rarely equitable. A bumper crop of anxiety grows unchecked from one year to the next, and food security is the worry that sits always at the dinner table. For the thousands of farmers scattered high in the Peruvian Andes, the humble potato has always been the crop that’s fed their family. No surprise: the potato as we know it started here, and hundreds of wild and cultivated varieties are still at the core of rural livelihoods and diets.

Like the farmers who grow them, there are a few hundred varieties that thrive in the harsh, chilly altitudes of up to 4,300 meters above sea level—about as high as Mt. Shasta. In villages from central to southern Peru, these small, powerhouse potatoes undergo a traditional process known as chuño, a form of freeze drying that allows them to be stored and eaten for up to 10 years. To produce chuño, farmers harvest the potatoes by hand in June and July and spread them out in batches. The potatoes are exposed to an extreme combination of severe nighttime frosts and prolonged sunny days and the thin air’s low humidity. Once the potatoes are “soft,” farmers walk on them to squeeze out the remaining moisture and the natural, bitter-tasting glycolalkaloids. The tubers are finally washed in fresh stream or river water to dilute remaining unwanted solutes, dried, and then rubbed against each other to remove the remaining bits of skin. After about a month, you have a powdery white—that’s the starchy residue now brought to the surface—potato roughly the size and shape as our “chef’s potato” variety. 

Chuño is typically boiled or served in soups and stews. It is easy to digest and provides important calcium and iron that Andean families may not otherwise get from their limited diets. Like quinoa, another traditional Andean food that has found a receptive global palate, chuño is starting to make its way to urban markets discovering inventive Peruvian cuisine. Think of chuño as a new twist on the classic mashed potato. 

“White Gold”

White chuño, also called tunta, was first processed in the Andes by the Aymaras hundreds of years ago. Sometimes referred to as “white gold,” the dehydrated potato helped extend the limited seasonality of the usual potato supply and became the most important financial resource of the time to supply investments and make payments in all of the Inca Empire. Centuries later, the tunta turned into the main “fuel” that every day fed the thousands of hungry miners working across the entire Andean region.

Chuño continues to be a basic part of the everyday diet of the entire Peruvian Andes, from north to south, where it forms part of the regional culinary culture. The cities of Arequipa, Cuzco, and Puno have developed typical regional dishes in which white chuño contributes a spongy texture and special taste that blends deliciously with other Andean vegetables, fruit, meat, and spices.

Gary Harrison thanks Stef De Haan, the global science leader for genetic resources at the International Potato Center, for source material and photographs about chuño.

 Grey Line

The Story of Potatoes Continues…. 

The story of potatoes continues next week when I will include a new video that my friend Janet Biehl made, of my stepmother, Judith Jones and me making potato salad at the end of last summer up in the Northeast Kingdom, here in Vermont. Two recipes for the salads will be posted as well: the French version made with warm potatoes and served at room temperature, and the American version with lots of mayonnaise, cucumber and radishes. Who knows, maybe we will have a heat wave Easter Weekend!

A Bientot,

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