Q. I am looking for a potato recipe from my childhood, can you help?
A. We get very good questions about recipes, however one of the most challenging to find the answer to is a recipe from long ago. Many times it was a family favorite, passed on down thru the ages by standing next to an aunt or mother as she lovingly taught sons and daughters how to follow the written instructions, but deviate when the dough was a little too moist or the secret ingredient was accidently left out of the handwritten copy. I know how emotional it can be once that loved one passes on and no one can track down the source… was it a modified magazine ad all that time (green bean casserole or companies coming potatoes) or unique to your personal experience.
While we have over 500 Idaho potato recipes posted on the web site in the section titled “recipes” I have found that sometimes a similar execution can easily be tracked down by using the search by ingredients section on www.idahopotato.com when you go to the recipe page. Over on the left of that landing page are a couple of other tips you might try… There is a section by category that is organized with topics such as “appetizer” or “side dish” or “baked/twice baked”. Below that is another drop down menu for looking by the meal occasion and it includes “breakfast/brunch” and lunch, dinner, etc.
Most of our consumer recipes posted are actually newer than a lot of the traditional ones you might have found years ago on the back of a box of instant potatoes or the side of a can or frozen bag. So they almost always are a twist on a “classic” which we hope you will find interesting enough to try, using the different ingredients. Our foodservice based recipes are a little more far out. For example, who really needs a steakhouse recipe for a wedge of Iceberg Lettuce salad with blue cheese dressing and blue cheese crumbles topped with freshly ground black pepper? Chefs, and many cooks can take the ingredients and figure out the ratios and they are off and running with a new menu item. We also try to keep the foodservice quantities in line with the chef’s typical desire to have many items “at the ready” on a makeup table of freshly cut inserts of fruits and vegetables or as a sauce that might be made in a larger quantity, but then put into squeeze bottles that can be on the line, kept warm in a steam table with simmering to boiling water.
So, as far as historical recipes… it’s probably going to take a long search of the internet or a listing of unique ingredient combinations (such as Tater Tot + Casserole) to track some of these down. Be sure to also look at the manufacturers web sites like Heinz (Tater Tots), or Idahoan (lots of the dehydrated recipes for mashed, diced) or BAF Basic American (dry potatoes) or others such as Nonpareil. Best of success in your searches, there is nothing more satisfying to a cook that to be able to fix a meal or side dish and get the compliment “Tastes just like Mom used to make”.