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Subject: Potato Myths ?
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking

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From: Bob Simon 
Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2001 23:57:58 GMT
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1) Are the eyes of potatoes really toxic?

2) My wife insists that I stab each potato before I put them in the
microwave, but I've never had one blow up on me, yet.  What's the
story here?

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From: mmm[at]winery.garlic.com (Mark Thorson)
Date: 11 Mar 2001 20:35:17 -0800
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Bob Simon wrote:
>1) Are the eyes of potatoes really toxic?

This is Elbonian folklore.  This probably is
related to much smaller eyes on carrots, which
really are poisonous.  (They contain carotoxin,
which is why carrots must be peeled if you eat
them frequently.)

>2) My wife insists that I stab each potato before I put them in the
>microwave, but I've never had one blow up on me, yet.  What's the
>story here?

They're like popcorn.  They explode at random at the
right temperature.  You can go 10 years without one
exploding, or it could happen tomorrow.  I used to work
at a steak restaurant where we'd bake LOTS of potatoes
and we'd always bake a few extra to compensate for the
"poppers".  Those we'd use for the mashed potatoes.
I've heard that sometimes there can be a sort of delayed
action, with the potato not popping until served at the
table, but that never happened while I was there.  Hope
this helps.  :-)

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From: Pulliam-Hansen 
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2001 04:41:41 GMT
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Mark Thorson wrote:
>Bob Simon wrote:
>>1) Are the eyes of potatoes really toxic?
>
>This is Elbonian folklore. 

Please to be excusing, Mister Smarty Pants Thorson, but Elbonian
potatoes are many times scaring children into green vegetables eating.
On St. Frghoptds Day, soon coming, is Elbonian Potato Mashing event
for poking eyes out. Have contestants gathering on Town Round to find
fastest eye gouger. Small children run for brussel sprout vendor, who
is big day having.

Terry "Squeaks" Hansen

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From: Tony Ning Lew 
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 04:54:04 GMT
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Bob Simon wrote:
>2) My wife insists that I stab each potato before I put them in the
>microwave, but I've never had one blow up on me, yet.  What's the
>story here?

  I've never had one blow up in the microwave, but I've had one
explode in a conventional oven.

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From: miche[at]technologist.com (Miche)
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 18:30:19 +1300
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Bob Simon wrote:

> 1) Are the eyes of potatoes really toxic?

Yes.

> 2) My wife insists that I stab each potato before I put them in the
> microwave, but I've never had one blow up on me, yet.  What's the
> story here?

If you don't the steam builds up inside the potato and yes, they can explode.  

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From: aquari[at]aol.comNOJUNK (Libby)
Date: 12 Mar 2001 12:01:02 GMT
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>> 1) Are the eyes of potatoes really toxic?
>
>Yes.

Any proof of this???

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From: miche[at]technologist.com (Miche)
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2001 20:18:28 +1300
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> Any proof of this???

I've seen it posted here but I have no authoritative source.  something
about the concentration of the same toxin that occurs in potatoes that
have gone green.

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From: pattee[at]spot.colorado.edu (Donna Pattee)
Date: 13 Mar 2001 16:02:49 GMT
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Miche wrote:
>I've seen it posted here but I have no authoritative source.  something
>about the concentration of the same toxin that occurs in potatoes that
>have gone green.

Think about it: potatoes are a member of the nightshade family, and all parts
of the plant (except for the potato itself) are poisonous. The eyes are 
the start of sprouts for producing new plants. So you would excpect them
to have solanin in them. Eat enough of the eyes, and you might not feel
too good . . .

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From: maxine in ri 
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 08:19:30 -0500
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Bob Simon wrote:
 
> 1) Are the eyes of potatoes really toxic?

no.  Potatoes are toxic when they turn green from exposure to light.

> 2) My wife insists that I stab each potato before I put them in the
> microwave, but I've never had one blow up on me, yet.  What's the
> story here?

I haven't had one explode on me in a looong time, but then, I like
to vent my frustrations out by stabbing them with the fork. 

Try it, you'll like it.

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From: Ross Reid 
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 09:28:46 -0500
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maxine in ri wrote:
>no.  Potatoes are toxic when they turn green from exposure to light.

Partly right.
Actually, the whole potato plant is toxic, due to the compound
solanine. Solanine tends to be concentrated in green tubers and also
sprouts which are simply the growing "eyes" of potatoes.
For anyone interested, there's lots of information from Cornell
University on Potato Glycoalkaloid Toxicity located at:
http://www.abc.cornell.edu/courses/as625/1999term/andrew/index.htm

Cheers,
Ross.

============================

From: Bob Simon 
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 19:32:40 GMT
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Ross Reid wrote:
>For anyone interested, there's lots of information from Cornell
>University on Potato Glycoalkaloid Toxicity located at:
>http://www.abc.cornell.edu/courses/as625/1999term/andrew/index.htm

Thanks for the pointer to the information from Cornell.  I was amazed
to read that:
Contents as high as 100mg/100g have been measured in the skin along
with lethal amounts in the sprouts (2). The ability to have such high
levels has led to several cases of potato poisoning.

It's often difficult for us who grew up in the information age to
differentiate between the superstition found in abundance in "old
wives tales" and valuable folk wisdom.

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From: Michael Edelman 
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 14:40:06 -0500
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I don't think there are any potato myths, as it's been my understanding
that potatoes in general haven't produced any really great mythic heroes
to write about.

-- mike

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From: Jack Schidt 
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 19:44:48 GMT
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Michael Edelman wrote:
> I don't think there are any potato myths, as it's been my understanding
> that potatoes in general haven't produced any really great mythic heroes
> to write about.

What about Mr. Potato Head?

Jack Schaper

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From: Sara  
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 13:06:09 -0700
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Jack Schidt wrote:
>What about Mr. Potato Head?

And don't forget the great archetype The Couch Potato.

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From: Yeff 
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 16:31:26 -0500
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Spuds Mackenzie? (the original party animal)

-Jeff B. (who was out of the country for that entire craze)

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From: Debbie 
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2001 03:37:26 GMT
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Sara wrote:
> And don't forget the great archetype The Couch Potato.

Hey! He ain't no myth.. he's sitting on my couch right now! 

D

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From: Paige Oliver 
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2001 16:32:23 -0500
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Jack Schidt wrote:
> What about Mr. Potato Head?

Or the infamous Fry-Guys?

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From: Rob Novak 
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 16:24:35 -0500
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Bob Simon wrote:

> 1) Are the eyes of potatoes really toxic?

Yes and no.  Potatoes are a member of the nightshade family (Solanum),
and contain a toxin known as solanine in the sprouts and green parts.
If the potato or sprouts have started to turn green, the solanine level
in those parts will have risen to potentially toxic levels.  Green
patches on the body itself (called "sun-scald")  can be cut away, and
eyes removed.  Solanine toxicity from potatoes is usually confined to an
upset stomach and perhaps some vomiting.  However, it is possible for
the concentrations to reach lethal levels.

> 2) My wife insists that I stab each potato before I put them in the
> microwave, but I've never had one blow up on me, yet.  What's the
> story here?

Well, when you "bake" a potato in the microwave, you're actually just
steaming it in its own jacket, with its own moisture.  Depending on the
size of the potato, variety and thickness of the skin, and the wattage
of your microwave, pressure can build up quickly enough to cause them to
split/explode and make quite a mess.  I've had it happen, and it scared
the living hell outta me!  ;-)

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From: Randi 
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 22:59:25 GMT
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If you wish upon a potato, you will never get a sty in your eye.  (Not true.
Just a myth.)

If you keep a potato in your back pocket, it will hurt when you sit on a
hard chair.  (True.  I can verify this one).

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From: debbiegrrrl[at]aol.com (DebbieGrrrl)
Date: 14 Mar 2001 03:03:36 GMT
--------
Randi writes:
>If you wish upon a potato, you will never get a sty in your eye.  (Not true.
>Just a myth.)
>
>If you keep a potato in your back pocket, it will hurt when you sit on a
>hard chair.  (True.  I can verify this one).

eating a slice or two of raw potato will stop heartburn.

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From: Stan Horwitz 
Date: 16 Mar 2001 13:57:22 GMT
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Bob Simon wrote:
> 2) My wife insists that I stab each potato before I put them in the
> microwave, but I've never had one blow up on me, yet.  What's the
> story here?

The story is that you are taking a big risk. Potatoes contain a lot of 
moisture. When heated very quickly, the can sometimes burst and at the 
most inopportune time such as when you open the door to the microwave to 
remove the potato when its done cooking. If you get in the way of the 
blast, you can feel some significant pain from the hot material. At best, 
you risk ending up with a microwave that is completely coated with potato 
on the inside. Piercing a potato with a knife or fork a few times takes 
seconds to do and it does not effect the finished result so there is no 
reason at all not to do it, but an important reason to do it.

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Subject: re: Potato Myths
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking

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From: Barbara Mayo-Wells 
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2001 18:30:36 -0500
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>And don't forget the great archetype The Couch Potato.

Rendered obsolete (in my area, at least) by The Couch Cous-Cous.

p.s.  Is a myth as good as a mile?


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