Food Hero: The Baked Potato

A lovely baked potato. Perfect.

You know, there was a day a very long time ago that I was under the impression that I didn’t like potatoes. Unthinkable, obviously, it turns out I just really don’t like boiled potatoes (sorry Mum). I mean, what a bloody waste of a perfectly good vegetable! Or tuber or complex carb, whatever, your options are plentiful, why just boil it? Roast, chipped, mashed, boulangere, dauphinoise, wedges, skins, skinny fries, bombay, hotpot, love it! Chopped and boiled and that’s it? Non.

If forced to pick a personal favourite way to serve the humble pomme de terre, well I’d struggle, but who doesn’t enjoy a baked potato? I certainly do, and frequently do at that. It covers so many bases. Need a comfort dinner? Baked potato and chilli. Cheap and simple? Baked potato, cheese n beans. Diet friendly? Salad, spud, tuna. It goes with a steak or a sauce, eggs or fish or cheese. Filling, high fibre, lots of vitamin C, and if you cook it right it’s like a hug on a plate. And how do you do that? I mean cook it right, not hug a plate. Well it’s simple enough really, get a grown up size spud, stab it a bit and cook it, you can’t go wrong. Well actually you can, you can go very wrong and that is a tragedy indeed and said tragedy is easily avoided with one careful consideration. Just think about it. Baked. A baked potato does not come from a microwave. A nuked mutliation of a soggy shrunken calorie bundle comes from a microwave. From the oven however, now that’s a different matter.

Oven. Bake. Yes! What microwave?

It’s not hard. About 200 degrees C, about an hour. Prick in a couple of holes in it to avoid explosive tendencies, and let it be until a knife or skewer passes easily into the middle. If you can spare another eight seconds of your precious time, maybe rub a little olive oil and a sprinkling of salt over the skin before it goes in. Then just wait. Think of all the things you can do with that hour! Saintly things like the ironing or ringing your mother or going for a run, all with the perfect excuse not to over do it, because the dinner is on. Or be more self indulgent. Have a bath, watch an episode of whatever guilty pleasure DVD box set you’d never admit to owning, have a trawl through ebay and buy a load of comedy crap you don’t need. Have some you time. It’s only an hour.

Then low and behold, it is there. Crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside, hot and yummy throughout and just begging to be given a bit of butter and plenty of black pepper and enjoyed. Remember those horrid shrivels that used to come out of the microwave? No, neither do I.

Now eat up and shut up, because I’m trying to watch Prison Break.


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