Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Questionable Potatoes

As Sting (the singer, not the wrestler) once said, I'm like a canary in a coalmine. Sensitive soul that I am, I can detect one part per zillion of certain bad substances in our food and our air.

I can instantly tell when I've been dosed with toxic death-sludge like Nutrasweet and Splenda, even when those around me report no ill effects (because they've consumed so much of it they're in a permanent adaptive state). I also can sense when there's pesticide recently sprayed in a place even when it can't be smelled, and usually have to excuse myself and get outta Dodge when I encounter such poisons.

Am I being oversensitive? Maybe, maybe not. As a painter, I breathe enough toxins as it is, on my own volition, and my liberal use of European-style snuff (the kind you actually sniff) and the hyper-fermented Brazilian elixir known as Cachaca guarantees I'll never be anyone's poster child for straight-edge. But at least let me choose my own methods of cellular deterioration, and not ingest poisons against my will, hidden in consumer products in ways they never used to be.

Blah blabbity blah, Jeff, get to the point. Okay. I picked up this here bag of potatoes at the Kroger in Middletown, KY. I was astounded that it was only a buck-fifty, and yet it had some crazy-huge spuds in it, one of which was the size of a shoe, kid you not. Should have taken a photo of that before I baked it up.

After eating said megaspud, both myself and a friend who ate the other half began experiencing not-so-subtle nervous-system disruption and wooziness, and later that evening, insomnia. When sleep finally came, it was filled with crazy fever dreams, the same kind I had when I ate some of those famous and now-banned taco shells made with genetically modified corn (also a Kroger item, interestingly). It was a bad trip, friends.

I tried to track down the source of these spuds, but the packaging doesn't even have a freakin' brand name. The bag just says "Potatoes". It does say the taters were "Packed for W&W Co., Whiting, WI", but "packed for" doesn't really tell you anything about the source of the actual product. And a Google search for this mysterious W&W Company brought up nil, zippo, goose egg.

I cut one of the smallest ones in half and noted that unlike "real" potatoes, these stay fresh looking indefinitely. Potatoes are supposed to be like apples - the flesh inside starts turning brown with oxidation soon after you cut it open - but the first photo of the cut spud above was taken 6 hours after cutting, and the one below was taken the next day. Some slight shrinkage was noted the next day, and some fine white drying of the potato juice occuring around the edge, but that's about it. These russets should have been dark brown and dessicated by now.

Nitrogen gas and sulfating agents are often used to promote tatery freshness, but it seems there's more than just that at work here. Ugh.

Anyway, there's my Kentucky consumer alert for the day, for those of you who would rather not eat potentially genetically modified space-age Monsanto frankenfoods. I don't know that these potatoes are such, but they act like such, and so I'm swearing them off.


blueroc85 said...

Tatery freshnesss....I got a kick out of that line, LOL.
I prepare potatoes for my family's evening meal on a regular basis and those taters in your pictures should be black and shriveled by now. I cut up some taters last night on a cutting board. When I went to load the dishwasher after supper, the potoato juice left on the cutting board was black, and that was after only 2 hours of sitting on the board. Any potato that looks like you just cut it after 6 hours must have some heavy duty chemical preservatives in it or be genetically enigineered (as you said). I will definitly keep an eye out for oxidation on my taters as I prepare them, Thanks for the news.

Nicosia said...

Does that bag say "all purpose"? That bothers me...

JSH said...

Oh yeah! It does... hadn't really thought about the implications of that. Hope that doesn't include purposes such as these, but all DOES mean all........

oddball23 said...

Thanks for putting the cautionary tale out there. Now, I don't want to make you worry, but the whole GMO issue is pretty unsettling. Here are a couple of good bits of info:

An article on the dangers of GMO

A good documentary on Monsanto & Frankenfoods.

Add to this that one of the former VPs for Monsanto *just* got named to work on Agri-policy in DC and I am doubling the size of my garden.

Tree said...

very scary! I try to only eat local and organic when possible

Rawpower95 said...

Psychedelic potatoes?