June 12, 2008

Hand Me My Sweater, It’s Getting A Little Chile In Here

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — geoff @ 9:46 pm


Good morning and welcome to westside story. On Wednesday we checked out a spectacular sunrise over the Pacific at Lighthouse Point. Today we are again blasting back to the past and heading a couple miles up the coast to Natural Bridges State Beach. These are a couple of never seen before sunsets that I thought would be a good way to close out the week. Then again, I thought the Lakers winning game 4 and tying up the NBA Finals would be a good way to finish off the week but I guess the Celtics had another idea.

We’ve been talking food this week here on the blog. Well, when it comes to healthy vegetables, my personal favorite and the numero uno choice of Americans is the proud potato. Mashed, baked, scalloped, roasted, french fried, au gratin, no matter which way you serve it, I find them all to be very apeeling. These taters tots are included in one of every three meals that Americans eat. But where did these carbohydrate cloggers first set down their roots? The origin of the potato has become, a “hot potato” between neighbors Peru and Chile. The spud dispute began last Monday, when Chilean Agriculture Minister Marigen Hornkohl said 99% of the world’s potatoes derive from spuds native to Chile and that “you cannot petition the Lord with prayer.”

Peru, where the potato and llama races are a source of national pride, bristled at the claim and said that these spuds come from a part of the Andes near Lake Titicaca, most of which is located in modern-day Peru. The country claims to have some 3,000 varieties of potato, all of which can be made into french, steak and seasoned curly fries. And by the way, who named Lake Titicaca? Howard Stern?

The spud dispute is just the latest flare-up between the testy neighbors. The one previous to this was which nation actually coined the term “peasant.” This new, simmering, so-called “Pisco War” flared up again when Peru’s agriculture minister called Chilean Pisco “bad,” after Chile declared May 15 “National Pisco Day.” This is not to be confused with “Joe Piscopo Day.” Now both nations are fighting over bragging rights to the potato and who receives the next major earthquake.

Andres Contreras, a researcher at Chile’s Austral University in Valdivia, said archaeological studies have found the first evidence of human consumption of potatoes dating back 14,000 years in southern Chile, right before the discovery of ketchup. This would be long before evidence emerges of spud consumption in Peru, which also claims bragging rights to Peruvian lilies, Peruvian marching powder and Shining Path rebels.

Now this is where things gets starchy. The head of Peru’s National Institute for Agricultural Innovation, Juan Risi, called Chile’s potatoes mere “grandchildren” of Peru’s tubers. “Peruvian potatoes that originated near lake Titicaca are the true potatoes, and their children spread throughout the Andes,” Risi said. And we all know that the children shall lead us. But who even knew that potatoes were sexually active?

Experts say the disputes reflect lingering historical tensions between the Amos and Andean neighbors. The disputes are “a very superficial manifestation of this ongoing concern of national pride and wounded feelings over various problems in the past,” said David Scott Palmer, a professor of Latin American politics and American policy at Boston University. I believe the professor is referring to soccer matches, border disputes and the origin of “chili fries.” Bottom line, it sounds to me like both nations have a potato chip on their shoulder.

That’s it for another week of blogging with the stars. So happy Father’s Day to all you well-deserving males out there who put time in with your children to make this world a better place. And on a personal note, here’s wishing my father, Daniel Gilbert, a Happy Father’s Day. 91 years old, living in Santa Cruz and still going somewhat strong. Unbelievable. They say every American eats about 126 pounds of potatoes every year and he is definitely one of them. And remember, while you’re reading this people are worried about losing their homes in the Bonnie Dune fire so try not to sweat the small stuff. So have a great holiday weekend, enjoy the sunset cruz and we’ll take a look at that raging fire on Monday. Later, aloha fans.


  1. What do you think of people who leave the skins when they make mashed potatoes? Big on natural vitamins or too lazy to peel?

    Comment by Spud Webb — June 13, 2008 @ 7:55 pm

  2. I love, love, love receiving your emails. When I open your site, I can relax and remember the beauty.
    Thank you,

    Comment by Maureen — July 8, 2008 @ 12:41 pm

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