I was checking The Joy of Cooking before baking a couple of potatoes on Monday, when I found a reference to a Potato Monument that once stood in Germany, dedicated to "Sir Francis Drake, the introducer of potatoes into Europe, in the year of our Lord 1586."
Back at work on Tuesday, I came across, while looking for something else, a fine article about potatoes in Smithsonian magazine, How the Potato Changed the World.
I don't know why I am bothering to write about potatoes. Researching the Potato Monument, I see that potatoes are everywhere written about, photographed, praised, and rightly so. I love a steak and baked potato, a burger and fries.
But I have my limit. In the North, potatoes are served with everything, it sometimes seems. It is rice that I begin to miss. If you had dined with me on Sunday at Siam Sushi, you would have heard me exclaim, after devouring a plate of shrimp fried rice, "I've had my rice fix!"
In the U.S., rice is a Southern thing. It's not just something you have with Chinese or Mexican food. It is grown here. Uncle Ben's Converted Rice is the commercial expression of Southern rice culture. When I lived in New Orleans, I loved to go to Buster Holmes for a plate of red beans and rice.
If I had to pick one dish to eat, it would be beans and rice, not potatoes. Maybe chicken and rice on Sundays. An heirloom rice has been resurrected as Carolina Gold, but I've tried it, and I prefer basmati rice.