Pepperidge Farm Adventure Maze


So, right before new years, I went on adventure looking for mini cocktail rye breads from Pepperidge Farm. They used to make one called Jewish Rye, and Pumpernickel.

The Jewish Rye was cool because it contained ground caraway seeds instead of the standard whole caraway seeds. I have had bouts with Diverticulitis, so I try to stay hydrated & avoid tiny sharp seeds. Caraway absolutely ruins sauerkraut, but it is good in rye bread.

Pumpernickel is cool because it essentially is named for the devil’s farts… and if that’s not cool, I don’t know what is. This is also code in my household for “I am always right.” I told my wife the name origin behind it, she said there was no way, Googled it… and, like I said… I am always right.

I know that the other manufacturer, S. Rosen, make cocktail-sized rye and pumpernickel bread… but the rye is not seedless. Apparently Hanky Panky means something entirely different in some parts of Ohio.

My wife likes to make this stuff for New Year’s that’s like swiss cheese, lemon-pepper, and mayo on the cocktail-sized Jewish Rye then toasted in the oven. It’s delicious. I like to make little mini open faced Reubens. The pumpernickel would be an acceptable alternative if I absolutely can’t find the seedless rye.

Because I’m weird and can’t leave anything alone, we have this…

I, of course, posted it on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook. I tagged Pepperidge Farm & Pepperidge Farm Cares. To their credit, they did reply:

I did tag all the stores that I could in the photo on Instagram and Facebook, but none of them have taken the bait.

I had to turn it up a notch, to which they did not reply:

Hello, 

I was wondering if anyone had time to try and complete my maze while considering bringing back cocktail-sized Jewish Rye. 

The ground caraway was awesome, because it isn't a potential diverticulitis disaster like whole seeds are. 

My wife wpuld [sic] use it to make this delicious lemon pepper cheese appetizer, and I like to make tiny Reuben sandwiches and pretend I am a reformed King King that no longer has to eat people sacrificed to me on Skull Island. 

The mini pumpernickel is cool just because of the etymology. I mean? It has to be the most metal bread out there.  

How can you discontinue such wonderful things?

All of that just says:

Hello,

I was wondering if anyone had time to try and complete my maze while considering bringing back cocktail-sized Jewish Rye.

The ground caraway was awesome, because it isn’t a potential diverticulitis disaster like whole seeds are.

My wife wpuld [sic] use it to make this delicious lemon pepper cheese appetizer, and I like to make tiny Reuben sandwiches and pretend I am a reformed King King that no longer has to eat people sacrificed to me on Skull Island.

The mini pumpernickel is cool just because of the etymology. I mean? It has to be the most metal bread out there. 🤘

How can you discontinue such wonderful things?

Also, AI generated art seems to be the cool thing these days, so I tried to make this on a few different ones to go along with the blog post:

King Kong feasting upon a stack of tiny Reuben sandwiches on tiny bread.  There is a stack of sandwiches in the background resembling the Empire State Building.  it is evening with a full moon in the clear sky.  King Kong has a highly detailed face where you can clearly see his expression of pure satisfaction.

I may have to buy a gorilla suit and make some tiny Reubens with the S. Rosen bread… and convince the wife or kids to take my photo.

Or, I may have to make a maze for S. Rosen, featuring a caraway seed that must make the journey through my guys without getting stuck, causing inflammation & a possible infection. Or maybe it has to make its way through a grinder before beign added to the dough & baked?

I doubt than anyone at Pepperidge Farm or Pepperidge Farm Cares is going to complete my maze. But, if they do, you can thank me later.

As far as discussion here, which I always ask for yet rarely get in the comments, let me know what you do with mini cocktail rye or pumpernickel bread.

Also… Ler’s discuss Reubens. Russian or Thousand Island? Regular rye or marbled? Do you add anything like bacon or swap out corned beef for Pastrami? Do you ever use Havarti instead of Swiss? Grilled in a pan, or on a panini press? I should blog about Reubens. Mmm. I’m hungry.

Also, please, please, complete the maze! Send me the results, post & tag me!

The most important takeaway is that if I tell you something, I am always right. Pumpernickel.

Green Potatoes 6: Night of the Living Spuds 🥔


Are you with me so far? I bet you thought I forgot about #GreenPotatoGate. Maybe you had, and wish I had. I think this may be it, as I’m never going to get a full response from Giant Eagle, and I did get some coupons! First, are you all caught up?

Had enough? Of course you haven’t. Read on, brave soldiers for spuds and titans for tubers!

As promised, I did receive some coupons from Tasteful Selections. Way to stand behind their products! There was a cool ingredient card too, so I may check that out. I do like purple potatoes.

Giant Eagle reached out with a DM on Twitter, then nothing. 🦗🦗🦗

And…

I submitted some shenanigans to Shop ‘n Save via webform, but haven’t heard anything back via email.

Although, I did get a Facebook message:

That was anti-climactic. They didn’t comment on the maze or the green potatoes.

I did, however, get one super awesome response to a positive message that I sent out about some potatoes from The Little Potato Compnay that I bought at Shop ‘n Save. I reached out like this:

From: Me <me@nunya.biz>
Date: Sun, Jan 1, 2023 at 10:44 PM
Subject: Thank you for a great product! 🥔
To: <feedback@littlepotatoes.com>

Salutations Spud Specialists!

I just wanted to reach out to thank you for your tremendous tiny tubers, or your perfect potatoes if you will.

Saturday I picked up a bag of the Terrific Trio style spuds from Shop ‘n Save in Heidelberg, PA, …and they were all fantastic.

You may think it’s odd to be so elated with a perfect product, but lately I have been on a crusade of sorts as I feel that nearly ¼ of all my purchased potatoes are green and arguably poisonous.  Albeit very slightly poisonous.

I eat a lot of potatoes.  So I buy a lot of potatoes.  It seems like no one is immune to the great greening that has taken place iver the last few years.  Yours were absolutely delicious though.

If you would like a window to my spiral into spud shenanigans, please feel free to catch the saga as it has unfolded so far at my blog:  

https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/tag/green-potatoes/

I’m sure that I’m up to at least 2 readers semi-regulartly that aren’t me or AI bots.  Well, I think.

I draw mazes.  I sent mazes to some of your competitors as a means to get their attention, and perhaps stand out among all rhe other missives.

I am sending them you you as a thank you.  Please, enjoy them and pass them along to your potato people!  I would love if you got a chuckle out of them and if you took the time to try them out.

I really appreciate your multiple avenues of contact, prominently displayed right on the packaging, and a super easy to navigate website.  I need to poke around the recipes!

I hope the new year brings you many new opportunities, great joy, & happiness.

Auld Lang Syne

-Eric

PS – Also attached is a photo collage of breakfast home fries with those fantastic tri-color delicious beauties.

And attached this photo (along with my potato mazes):

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is wp-1672606172129.jpg

And I got this response:


From: Feedback feedback@littlepotatoes.com
Date: Tue, Jan 3, 2023 at 12:21 PM
Subject: RE: Thank you for a great product! 🥔
To: Me me@nunya.biz

Hi Eric,

Thank you so much for the aMAZEing feedback! I’m glad you enjoyed your Terrific Trio home fries!

Don’t hesitate to check out our website at https://www.littlepotatoes.com/en/recipes/ for recipe ideas and upcoming contests. Also feel free to check out our Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/LittlePotatoCo ) to watch our video recipes and share with other The Little Potato Company lovers.

Have a terrific day!

Madison Marano | Consumer Service Coordinator

direct 587.460.2095 | main 780.414.6075

email madi.marano@littlepotatoes.com | web LittlePotatoes.com

11749 – 180 Street | Edmonton, Alberta | T5S 2H6

Neat!

I will be looking for more of their products too.

I think we can all agree, if you start seeing less green potatoes in the grocery store, that was clearly all my doing.

Please try to solve the potato mazes if you’re into that.

New Year’s Day Pork & Sauerkraut


There are many traditions used to celebrate the new year. One we always did was have pork.

Roast Pork Loin Rib Half
Good Luck New Year’s Day Pork Roast AiXeLsyD13-style.

Generally, I cook it in the crock pot, but this year I tried it in the roasting pan in the oven. I’m posting my recipe/method here so I can refer back to it. Hopefully you might like it too, and you may want to check out my other recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 8 lb. pork loin (The one I got this year said “pork loin rib half”.)
  • 2 bags of sauerkraut (Beware, “Bavarian style” is a secret code meaning it has caraway seeds & tastes like royal ass. Unless you like caraway seeds or royal ass. I avoid it for diverticulitis reasons anyway.)
  • 1 bottle of beer. I used Straub Amber, but I also like to use Yuengling Traditional Lager. (You could also use Penn Pilsner, Stoney’s, Shiner Bock, or Smithwick’s Red Ale.)
  • Apple Juice (Maybe ½ cup?)
  • 2 Apples (I like Golden Crisp or Honey Crisp)
  • 1 Spanish Onion (Or a sweet or yellow onion or whatever you like.)
  • ½ teaspoon-ish Minced Garlic
  • Salt (or Season All / Seasoned Salt)
  • Pepper
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Paprika
  • Mustard Powder
  • Brown Sugar (Maybe ¼ cup?)

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°.
  2. Drain & rinse the sauerkraut, unless you’re in need of an intestinal cleanse.
  3. Sear the pork roast on all sides. I used a large fork to control it along with some tongs. I used a hot pan with a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil & a pat of butter. You just want to sear the outsides, not cook the meat. I did add a bit of seasonings first.
  4. Pop it into your roasting pan. Add some of those spices to taste.
  5. slice the apples & onions then place them around the sides, cover it with the rinsed sauerkraut, bathe it with that glorious beer & apple juice.
  6. Put some more spices on the roast again because you just washed them off. Don’t measure them. Live dangerously.
  7. Put your food thermometer in, put the lid on, & pop it in the oven. You have a food thermometer right?
  8. Cook it to 145° F according to the FDA, 160° according to my thermometer with the numbers beside the pig icon, or 203° if you want it to fall apart.
  9. From what I read online it could be anywhere from 20 to 30 min per lb. Instead of popping it out & checking with an instant read, get a thermometer that can stay in.
  10. Let it rest a bit when you pull it out. That’s just good life advice in general.
  11. I mixed the brown sugar into the sauerkraut after I pulled the roast out. I didn’t measure. I read that was to prevent it caramelizing & burning too much… but I think it would have been fine in there the whole time.

Tips:

  • I put onion powder on the apple slices and garlic powder on the onion slices… because why not? Does anyone else do stuff this?
  • You could probably do this at 300° or 325° if you felt like it. Cook to temperature not time.
  • You could throw all this into the crock pot (if it will fit!), or go with a smaller roast to do the same. I’d guess low on 8 or 10 hours would do it. Again, that’s what I usually do. Maybe go half the bottle of beer & drink the other half for breakfast.
  • Thinking back, I think I put a half a bit of ham bullion (or better than bullion) in there too. I do that instead of salt sometimes.

What’s the deal with all the other not pork on that plate?

  • Steamed green beans with a bit of garlic, butter, & parmesan cheese.
  • Boxed mashed potatoes – I used buttermilk instead of milk. While nothing beats the real thing… I like the boxed potatoes because I like potatoes with a consistency that you could use to mortar bricks together, or build a structure like in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Those Bob Evans microwave potatoes might as well be potato soup. Also, buttermilk is the best.
  • I tried those hot dogs in the air fryer for the first time. I put slits in the top, then did 6 minutes at 400° and they were awesome. I did the bun for 2 minutes at 375° because I read some stupid blog, and that may have been to hot or too long. That should teach you a lesson about following recipes on a blog.
  • I served the hot dog on that bun (brushed with a little melted butter before air frying), with yellow mustard & some of the sauerkraut & pulled pork. I had one the next day & it was even better. That may be better than chili dogs!

I think the family liked it, or they pretended to. The 9yo liked the sauerkraut, the 7yo did not. Funny because the 7yo has been digging mushrooms and onions as of late, and he’s my dude that digs buttermilk. It may be a texture thing? I am weird about some textures.

Tell me about your pork recipes or new year’s traditions in the comments!

I always thought we were a bit German, but my Ancestry DNA test does not agree with that. We must have picked up the traditions from German or “Pennsylvania Dutch” friends & neighbors here in the region.

I’m glad this is not a tradition.

Also, if you like your sauerkraut without the brown sugar, I get that. If you like it with caraway seeds, I’m sorry your taste buds are broken.

If you line this recipe, you may like these:

Green Potatoes 5: From Russets With Love 🥔


Well. The garden plot thickens. Or something. I have a few more potato-related emails. All signs point to the grocery stores being at fault, and funnily enough the grocery stores have not replied, at all.

This happened, and we got a refund from Instacart. It’s not green potatoes, but they definitely weren’t ready to just toss into the crock pot with a roast.

Tasteful Selections - Organic Golden Potatoes Sprouting Eyes

If you’re wondering what the hell I am talking about, you must have missed the saga as it uprooted…

And that brings us to the following…

Dear Eric,

Thank you for reaching out. It’s always great to meet another potato enthusiast! As you may know, while we don’t represent any one brand, Potatoes USA works on behalf of more than 2,000 potato growers and handlers across the country to promote the benefits of eating potatoes. We’re happy to provide general feedback, and the individual brands and retailers can tell you more about their practices.

As far as green potatoes go, you’re correct that the color signifies the build-up of solanine. It’s a natural reaction to the potato being exposed to too much light. If there’s slight greening, you can cut away those green portions before cooking and eating. Generally speaking, you’re unlikely to ingest enough solanine to do you any harm.

However, I know you’re a potato skin fan (and rightly so). One bit of good news on the nutrition front is that the only nutrient significantly lost when the skin is removed is fiber. (A medium (5.3 oz) potato contains 2 grams of fiber with the skin and 1 gram of fiber without the skin.) Potassium and vitamin C are found predominantly in the flesh.

Potato growers take a number of steps to reduce greening, including maintaining enough soil cover over potatoes in the field and storing harvested potatoes in facilities with minimal light.

If you aren’t already, I’d encourage you to store your fresh potatoes in a cool, dark place. If you’re finding green potatoes upon returning from the store (or after Instacart delivery), you can often return them.

Thanks again for your note. We hope you have a spud-tacular holiday season, filled with plenty of potatoes.

Cheers,

Btj

Bonnie Johnson, MS, RDN

bonnie@potatoesusa.com

Director of Nutrition + Industry Relations

O: 303.873.2328

C: 702.217.3055

3675 Wynkoop St.

Denver, CO 80216

PotatoesUSA.com

So, of course I replied.

Hello Btj,

Thank you for your response!  I really appreciate your time and the imparted potato knowledge.

In my reaching out to several potato producers, it seems that they all want to lay the blame on the distribution and storage by the grocers.  

So, the “all the vitamins are in the skin” that I got from my grandma when I was a kid was just potato public relations? 🤣

No matter, I agree they are delicious.

Please, enjoy the attached mazes with your friends, family, & co-workers!

I hope you enjoy you have a pleasant holiday season and a happy new year, and a great going season next year.  I know I am looking forward to planting some potatoes myself.

I may leave out some potato candy for Santa, if I don’t eat it all!

Tuber-ular Tidings to you & yours!

-Eric

I sent the mazes again, like an idiot. Ha ha. I forgot I had sent them previously. No reply or acknowledgement this time.

This came as response from Tasteful Selections, which are the ones pictured above:

Hi Eric,

Thank you so much for contacting us. I am terribly sorry for the poor experience you had with our product. I can assure you that the quality you saw is not our standard, and for this I apologize.

We strive to ensure that every package of potatoes that leave our farm is handled with the utmost care in order to deliver a quality product to our consumers. Unfortunately, sometimes temperature changes and changes in light make potatoes break down or decay faster than they normally would. 

The greening you’re experiencing occurs when potatoes have been exposed to too much light, either natural or artificial, that gives the potatoes a sort of “sunburn.” While greening is a result of light exposure, the visible greening can be delayed. Potatoes exposed to light may be packaged and continue to green beyond our last inspection point. We make every effort to avoid this, however, in your case we were not successful. You can cut the green out of the potatoes and use the rest (although that’s a bit tougher with small potatoes), but eating the green portion of the potato can give a very bitter flavor.

Here’s some additional information if you’d like to see more: https://www.potatogoodness.com/potato-greeningfact-check/

I am sincerely sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you. We stand by our products and you should not have had to have an experience like this. I would like to make it up to you by offering you a product voucher to hopefully help compensate you for your troubles.

If I may please have your mailing address, I would be happy to send you a product voucher straight away. Again, my personal apologies for the frustration this has caused you. 

Sincerely,

Jenny

RPE Inc. support@rpespudassist.freshdesk.com

TastefulSelections.comimage

So, I wrote back:

Hello Jenny,

Thank you for your response!  I have been exasperated lately with the amount of green or sprouting potatoes from the grocery store.  It is a consistent issue across brands and stores, and whether we use a service like I Instacart or pick a bag ourselves.

I understand, from your reply among others, that the issue is most likely occurring after it leaves the potato farm.

Can retailers like Aldi, Giant Eagle, or Target be better educated about potato shipping and storage?

Instacart already refunded us for the purchase of the recently sprouting spuds as that was clearly a shopper error.

If it was spring, I would just plant them!  You have a delicious variety of golden potatoes, perfect for home-fries!

Sometimes, the green potatoes don’t reveal themselves until you crack open that bag about to prepare a meal.

I would just like some sort of solution going forward.  What can the potato industry do to hold grocers accountable?

If I wanted the gastrointestinal distress and discomfort associated with eating green potatoes, I would just dine at Taco Bell or Pizza Hut.  Right?

My mailing address is…

     Eric AiXeLsyD

     #### Nunya St. 

     Bidness, PA  #####-####

…but again I’m not really looking for free potatoes, I just want to get what I pay for.  

I appreciate you reaching out, and pride in the quality of your product.  Please find my gift of the attached potato mazes, and share them with your co-workers and friends if so inclined.

Have a very starchy Christmas and a tuber new year!

-Eric

And I got a reply:

Hi Eric,

Thanks so much for getting back to me. I definitely understand your concerns. Our sales & business development team are already working with Produce Managers and providing resources for storing and caring for potatoes. We’ll continue to do our part, however, it ends up being the responsiblity of Produce Managers to not only train their staff, but also make sure they are following through with the potato best practices. 

I have a few coupons headed your way. 

Sincerely,
Jenny

I like free potatoes. I will be on the lookout for potato vouchers!

Now, I have reached several road-blocks with getting a message to Aldi. They apparently do not like to give out email addresses.

I dug up some email formats & corporate names on teh Google mosheen and sent this, also to no avail (so far):

Greetings My Frugal Friends,

I hope you are gearing up for a pleasant, festive, and relaxing holiday season!  I appreciate your role in bringing food & other goodies to our homes.

I write to you today with some tuber related shenanigans I have noticed over the last few years.  I have submitted a missive to your contact form at the Aldi website to no avail.  I have been checking my junk/spam folder too.

I also tried reaching out via Facebook and Twitter… only to be told that your social media teams are unfathomably unable to forward messages to your customer service team or provide an email address.  I had to do some Googling, and I pray to a higher power that this reaches a live intelligent and empathetic human being.

I love potatoes.  At rhe risk of sounding like Forrest Gump’s friend Bubba droning on about shrimp…

I love potatoes.  I like home fries, hash browns, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, cheesy potatoes, hassleback potatoes, scalloped potatoes, potato candy, potato soup, lyinnaise potatoes, potato filling, tater tots, potato salad (hot or cold styles), shepherd’s pie, and sometimes even potato pancakes.  Twice baked potatoes are a fantastic treat too.  I hear potato vodka is good too, but I am not much of a drinker.  Perhaps a potato beer would be more my speed if such a thing exists?

Nearly every bag of potatoes that I have purchased from your and/or your esteemed competitors over the last few years has had an alarmingly large amount of green solanine-filled potatoes.  Glycoalkaloids are not our friends!  On the mild end, eating green potatoes would be like chasing a Taco Bell meal with a laxative.

The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was one night at dinner when ready to bake 8 potatoes as a side to chili… 2 of the potatoes were totally green on the outside.  They had been delivered by Instacart, but the green potatoes were not evident upon eying the outside of the bag.

That’s ¼ of rhe potatoes unusable for their intended purpose.  Yes, I could have peeled away the green, but who wants a baked potato with no skin?  That’s just craziness.  Do I get ¼ of my money back?

I have written to and received replies from quite a few potato farms, and they all seem to point the finger at the end retailer… which in some cases is Aldi.  They cite importer handling and storage… specifically exposure to light and longer than optimal time frames.

Perhaps the powers that be within your fine organization can put their heads together, asses your handling of these tiny starcchy underground gifts from heaven, and come up with ways to prevent waste?  It may need to be a highly coordinated effort with logistics, distribution, shipping, and warehousing.

As an effort to aid exercise in meditation and clearing your thoughts, I have attached some potato themed mazes.  Mazes and labyrinths have a history of assisting people to achieve a zen like state.  Perhaps this will provide the needed clarity to prevent ultra violet potato decimation.

You have a fantastic business and I appreciate your effort to bring quality goods to the more budget-concious among us.

If requested, I can even forward my original (perhaps lost?) message.

Thank you for your time, I look forward to your thoughts on the matter!

Let’s root for a starchy Christmas and a tuber new year!
-Eric

So, maybe that will get something. Maybe not. Giant Eagle hasn’t bothered to reply either.

Oh well. Do you think I’ll ever get a meaningful reply from Aldi or Giant Eagle? I am starting to doubt it.

I know we have received green potatoes from Target too. I’ll have to bark up their tree next.

Green Potatoes 4: The Search for Spuds 🥔


The starchy spud saga continues. This time I got an email from Sun-Glo who packs potatoes for Side Delights. Side delights was the brand I caught at Giant Eagle in Bridgeville that was a bag of entirely green potatoes. I probably reached out to this company twice, or maybe three times. I did not purchase that bag, and I have not had a concrete reply from Giant Eagle or Aldi USA yet. The potato farmers seem to place all the blame at the feet of the grocer.

Good afternoon,

I appreciate your email about green potatoes.

The one thing I do want to stress to you is this…..we have USDA and internal inspectors in our warehouse at all times. If the potatoes were green in a bag, they would not pass our inspections and would be not pass. When the potatoes leave our plant, they have passed a USDA inspection.

The one thing we can’t control is how fast or slow the retailers turn their inventory. Potatoes are going to turn green under artificial lights, there is nothing we can do to control this.

There is a website that you might find helpful with a lot of ‘potato knowledge” that the Idaho Potato Commission answers most questions you might have about potatoes. Idahopotato.com

I appreciate your feedback.

Thanks,

Jill Crapo Cox

VP Sales

208-356-7346 ext. 214

208-313-6350 cell

You saw the mazes, right?

I also included these photos with my reply:

Side Delights - Green Bag of Potatoes at Giant Eagle

And, I feel like I am ratcheting up the ridiculous with each reply.

Hello Jill,

Thank you for the reply! It is interesting to learn that Sun-Glo and Side Delights potatoes are one in the same!

I am sure you have strict quality control standards, that’s why it is so surprising to see so many green potatoes out in the wild.

I did see but did not purchase a nearly entirely green bag of Side Delights potatoes this Sunday at Giant Eagle in Bridgeville PA.

Monday at the South Fayette PA Giant Eagle, I noticed a fine looking bag of potatoes with the Sun-Glo label.

I have been reaching out to as many potato farmers as I can. The issue seems to go back a few years, and I confess I have not payed much attention to brand. We typically shop at Aldi and Gaint Eagle, but sometimes Shop ‘n Save, Target, Walmart, or even BJ’s Wholesale.

What has been brought to light (pun intended) is that Giant Eagle and Aldi must be improperly shipping, storing, or handling potatoes across the board.

The common denominator seems to be too much artificial light?

Maybe they need to start selling potatoes in rooms with red lights like darkroom back in the 1900’s when people had to develop film.

I have reached out to Aldi and Gaint Eagle to no avail (so far). They are not as quick as you at returning inquiries.

I will most definitely have to do some more research on the Idaho Potato website.

I do grow some of my own in the summer, but I am hardly a titan of tubers, or even a sultan of spuds… perhaps a prefect of potatoes? I could grow some more if I learn to store them properly myself.

I should blog more potato recipes. I cook a lot of potatoes.

Please, find the attached mazes for your enjoyment, and share them with your co-workers. I will also attach the photos of the bag I saw Sunday at Giant Eagle.

Perhaps my mazes can be used in potato safety & storage education going forward?

I appreciate your time, your concern, your knowledge, and your zeal for getting directly to the point. Honestly, and probably obviously, that is something I need to work on.

🥔 Starch-cerely,
-Eric

If you’re interested, keep following my twitter, or check the posts out in order:

This makes me think of the books Idiot Letters and The Complete Idiot Letters by Paul Rosa, which probably started all of this with me. I used to also write letters via snail mail before email became a thing. Somewhat less inspiring but still awesome were Ted Nacny’s Letters from a Nut and the Emails from an Asshole website from John Lindsay.

Green Potatoes 3: Probably Not The Last Crusade🥔


Well, the replies are starting to come in. While this certainly isn’t an issue as pressing, depraved, or salacious as the lady who put the pee in potato at Walmart that one time, it does seem to resonate with people.

What am I talking about? The story so far:

Also, to prove and share my love for potatoes, check out these recipes:

My post on Nextdoor had some strong opinions in the comments. My favorite implied that like bananas, I should just let the green potatoes ripen. Oops.

First, I wrote back to Alsum:

Hello Christine!  

Thank you so much for your prompt reply!  This was a 5 lb. bag of Russet potatoes, I believed purchased at Aldi via Instacart.  Unfortunately, I disposed of all the packaging.  I cooked the whole bag!  Well, everything that wasn’t green.  It would have been purchased at the Aldi in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania… earlier this week.  I really don’t want a rebate or anything.  I just want to stop getting green potatoes.  Can you imagine if 3 out of every dozen eggs were unusable?  Or 5 slices of every loaf of bread just moldy?  I may have to reach out to Aldi regarding their shipping/storage practices… and Instacart about their selection process.  I am sure you take great pride in your potatoes.  I know how I feel with a back yard garden, and I’m only feeding a family of 4.  You guys must feed millions.  I, really though, am going to reach out every time I get green potatoes, no matter the producer.  We, as a society, can’t afford to not get the most value out of a dollar.  I hope everyone can work together to get perfect produce into our kitchens.

Thank you for your time!

-Eric

And, they wrote back to me:

Hi Eric,

These are unique potato mazes! Thank you for sharing along with where you recently purchased your Alsum 5 lb. russet bag of potatoes. I’m hopeful the hands shopping for your produce through Aldi can be educated to remove from the store shelf any green potatoes to prevent this poor experience going forward. It might be worth the call to bring this to the retailers attention to help everyone have a good potato eating experience and use the bag in full.

As a consumer, I couldn’t agree more we need to stretch our food dollar, and it’s important from farmer to retail grocer to work together to provide a quality product.

We hope you give us another try.

Take care,

Christine

I wrote back once again:

Thank you Christine,

I have reached out to Aldi via web contact form and Facebook, but they are not nearly as quick as you with a response.  I am sure you, like all of us, feel the pressure of stretching a dollar lately.  I will most certainly give Alsum and Aldi (and even Instacart) another try.  Hopefully they can adjust their potato handling process.

Thank you so much for your quick, informative and warm response.  I hope the mazes can bring a smile to your co-workers’ faces!

-Eric

Then, my mass email reached Sterman Masser Potato Farms:

Good Afternoon Eric,

You have a knack for writing, I enjoyed your email!

I am very sorry to hear about the many “green potato’s experiences”  you have had.    This particular purchase does worry me, we have not supplied potatoes to Giant Eagle since Sept. 29, 2022.  So if they are our spuds, they were packed over 9 weeks ago and they would most definitely be green or breaking down.   (We suggest a 4 week shelf life).

You are correct in saying eating green potatoes can be harmful, that is true but only if consumed in very large amounts.  To play it safe, we tell everyone just to peel the green away or just throw it out. 

Do you happen to have the kwik lock (plastic tie) to seal the bag? If so, can you tell me what the 6 digit numbers are?  I am sorry I cannot be of much help on this one, but I would let the produce manager know so he or she can clean out their out of date bags on their produce shelf.

Thank you for your message,

Rachel

That was via webform, so I sent the potato mazes and this:

Hello Rachel,

Thank you for such a quick informative reply!  I hope the attached mazes can entertain you & your co-workers.  I believe I will follow up with Giant Eagle and other local grocers about the green potato issie.  It seems that no potato farms are letting green potatoes out the door, but improper storage may be leading to green toxic tubers.

I must confess I have never put much thought into the choice of brands of potato.  I just go with whatever is on the produce shelf.  I will have to seek out Masser Spuds with intent from now on.  

I don’t believe your product specifically was one that has recently been GOA (green on arrival) or turned quickly once it reached my home.  I had some issues most recently with Alsum.  In a bag of 8 total potatoes, 2 were green and unusable as baked potatoes to go along with the delicious chili that my wife made last week.  It’s delicious because she follows my recipe although taking some unnecessary liberties on portions.  The kids are crazy because they say hers is much much better than mine.  I agree with them, because I may be crazy, but i am not stupid.

I also spotted an entirely green bag of Side Delights potatoes at the aforementioned Giant Eagle yesterday.  It lends credence to the theory that Giant Eagle may need to take more care of their precious potato produce.  A lot of people may not understand.  I posted on social media asking if others had noticed the issue.  On Nextdoor someone suggested that like bananas, I just let them ripen at home. 🤦‍♂️

Sadly though, the problem does not seem limited to any one store or potato farm.  The Alsum bag with one quarter of the bag unusable was just the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.  I feel like for the last 2 years, I have been getting a much greater number of green potatoes from Giant Eagle, Shop ‘n Save, Aldi, Walmart, Target, & even BJ’s Wholesale.  It is usually only with bagged potatoes… not ones that I would pick fresh.  There is the convenience of ordering from Instacart or Target home delivery.  Arguably they should be picking better produce, but it is hard to see the whole bag.  

Potatoes usually don’t last long here before they’re consumed.  We grow our own in the summer, but they cannot fuel our entire consumption.  Our small yard and time available are limiting,

If only Mythbusters was still a thing, perhaps they could tell us how much green potato we could safely consume before it felt like we had one of everything from the Taco Bell menu with a side of possible neurological complications.

Thank you once again for your time, and I do hope you enjoy the mazes.

Thank you!

-Eric

And that’s about it for now, other than some standard auto-replies, like this one from Aldi via Facebook Messenger:

I know you’re absolutely riveted by the saga and glued to the screen with anticipation of a solution to the great green potato crisis. Try the potato mazes while you wait!

Green Potatoes 2: Return of the Glycoalkaloids🥔


We’ve established that I’m odd, right? If you have read much here, you know that I like to write emails or letters that blur the line between reality and insanity. Sometimes it’s a real-ish request. I’m using ridiculousness to call attention to a situation.

Did you see the last potato related post? Short version: I’m tired of getting green potatoes. What can we do to stop it?

I’ve started to reach out via emails, contact submissions forms, and even Facebook Messenger to some potato farms & stores.

This time, I attached some mazes though. 🤣

Why? Why not?

Here’s pretty much what they all got…

Salutations Spud Specialists,

I hope this email finds you well.  Living up to stereotypes, my Irish ancestors would be proud at my levels of potato consumption.  I’ll eat them just about any way they can be cooked.  Keel me over with carbs, please.  

I have noticed a trend with potatoes over the last few years and it really has my mind reeling with questions.  You are not alone.  This applies to nearly every [expletive removed for politeness’ sake] bag of potatoes I have bought in the last year, no matter the source.  I typically get a ridiculous amount of green potatoes in each and every bag I purchase.  The other day, I opened the bag which was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.  That 5 lb. bag contained eight potatoes which I planned to bake, and two were green all over the outside and thus unsuitable for baking.  Could I skin & fry or boil or mash them?  Sure.  The vitamins and taste are in the skin though… as I’m sure you are aware.  I even like to leave some of the skin in when making mashed potatoes.

The green skin & portion just under is poisonous, no?  If I understand correctly, light reacts with the skin to turn it green via chlorophyll & photosynthesis, producing solanine & chaconine.  Glycoalkaloids can be dangerous.

The Healthline website states that:

  •  “Studies have estimated that peeling a potato at home removes at least 30% of its toxic plant compounds. However, that still leaves up to 70% of the compounds in the flesh.”

I feel like if ¼ of every bag of potatoes I buy is unsuitable for consumption and I’m playing by the pound, there ought to be some rebate or relief.  I have started & will continue to reach out to all of the producers of bags of potatoes that I buy from now on with similar inquiries.

Did you all fire your potato inspectors at the farm or the processing or packaging plants?  Do you have a machine that needs fine-tuned?  Are you willfully and knowingly shipping toxic tubers?  I understand that they may be exposed to light, heat, or longer than ideal conditions while shipping from you to the grocery store.  Are they in trucks or warehouses too long?  Could the bags have better ultraviolet protection? 

The cost of everything is going up, and I understand that… but I can’t accept lowering quality standards at the same time.  Can I reach out to your shipping partners, logistics, warehouses, and the grocers? 

I confess I am not brand loyal to any potato conglomerate.  I purchase potatoes at Aldi, Giant Eagle, Walmart, Target, BJ’s, Shop ‘n Save, or wherever may have the best price or be the most convenient.  Sometimes Instacart purchases for us, and I guess I’ll need to follow up there about the selection of green potatoes.  Sometimes it’s not evident until the entire bag is home.

I hope you had a restful and prosperous Thanksgiving.  I stuffed myself with fresh delicious mashed potatoes… my secret ingredients are turkey broth and buttermilk!  

I look forward to your thoughts on this green ‘tater epidemic.  How can we move forward into a ripe yet not overripe future?

You’ve got ap-peel for real,
-Eric

aixelsyd13.wordpress.com

Which is just edited text from the last one.

I hope they enjoy the mazes. I hope you reach out too. I’ll post replies as I receive them.

Ham, Green Bean, n’ ‘Tater Stew :|: The Recipe


So, I have blogged about it before, but that was more just the method. This time I actually measured stuff. Usually I just eyeball a bag of fresh green beans if they look good. Still don’t have a good name for it. Ham, Green Beans, & Potatoes? Ham , Beans, n’ Taters? Grandma’s Special? Daddy’s Favorite? Is it a soup or a stew? It’s delicious is what it is. I generally make enough to have a stunningly large amount of leftovers. I always try to get the ham bone, this time my son & I each got one. He’s a copycat.

A collage  - Ham, green bean, and potato stew (soup?) in a spoon on the top left, the soup in a bowl on the bottom left, and the whole right side is a screenshot of a text from my daughter with a bowl full of ham cubes... saying that the soup would have been perfect without the green beans or potatoes. 🤦‍♂️
Soup – In the spoon & soup in the bowl – and the post dinner text from my 9yo after she said there were too many beans and potatoes. 🤦‍♂️

Ingredients…

The “to taste” is just a few shakes usually. This recipe doesn’t really need any extra salt, so if I have a salt-free blend like Mrs. Dash or the Aldi equivalent, I use that. The bullion is according to directions, I think I measured it out right. I added too much water this time, but I think this measurement is still right. The beef & chicken bullion cubes and even the beer are completely unnecessary, but I feel like it adds a little to the broth. I use a big stock pot with a lid, and an 8-cup measuring cup for the big stuff.

  1. Put your liquids & spices in the pot, put it on to boil, but don’t quite dime the knob.
  2. Cube your ham, dump it in the pot.
  3. Cube your potatoes (don’t peel them!), dump ’em in the pot.
  4. Snap ends off your beans if you have any sus ones, snap them in to bite-size pieces if you want. Or chop them. Or don’t. Dump ’em in the pot.
  5. Boil for 20 minutes.
  6. Simmer for 20 minutes or even longer if you want. Let it cook down & get tasty.
  7. Don’t taste it too early while it is hot and burn your tongue every time, because I definitely do not do that.
  8. Serving suggestion – Serve it up with homemade bread (or store bought fresh baked) and butter.

Obviously, wash the beans & potatoes first. I think I broke down what you need & more details on the method the first time I wrote about this soup (stew?). I use fresh produce beans most often, but the bags are quick & easy to measure. This is also good with leftover ham from a holiday meal.

I like soups, I make them a lot. Well, I make them sometimes, when I have time. If you like this one, check these out:

Smoked BBQ Burgers 🍔


My son & I made some smoked BBQ burgers. Thought I would blog it so I can refer back.

🍔

Used lump charcoal on a side smoker-box attachment on my Char-Griller grill, & a mix of wood chips – some Jack Daniels oak barrel ones and an apple/hickory/oak mix. I just put the chips in a foil tray on that grate, I don’t have a box for the

The burgers were just Ground beef, a few drops of A1, some Rib Rack Honey BBQ sauce, McCormick Grill Mates barbecue seasoning, onion powder, minced garlic, French’s crispy fried onions, & some chopped up slices of Gouda cheese.

Little dude helped prep the starter chimney for the grill, and mix the burgers, make some patties & check the temperature.

Tried to keep it at 250° for about an hour,

went up a few times so we played with the vents to get it right.

Slathered on some BBQ sauce at the end for a little less than 10 minutes.

The buns, which I should do on the propane side of the grill next time…

Melted some butter & garlic in rhe microwave, brushed it on the buns, put them in the oven at 375° on a pan with a roasting rack for a few minutes to toast them… pulled them put and added BBQ sauce to the bottom and a slice of Gouda and some more French’s onions to the top… toasted until the cheese was starting to melt & the onions got a little more toasty.

Not a bad dinner! It tasted like a Rack of ribs on a bun and the burgers were really juicy. It almost tasted like a rack of ribs or some brisket on a bun.

🍔

So, how do you do your burgers on the smoker? I did get advise to sear, but skipped that as they seemed done & pretty together when I checked them. Any special recipes outside of the normal? We do a mushroom and swiss melt with these onions too… sometimes I make a molten cheese ball on the inside… from regular grilling to the counter-top grill. We try to make them different that what you typically get out. I have been known to do pizza or chili cheese burgers too… but we are definitely coming back to these and trying more styles in the smoker. Maybe a bacon/cheddar/jalapeño one next?

Cooking Stuff From the Garden 🌶🥒


So, today I felt like cooking. We recently came back from a weekend at a cabin and a week at camp. We had a bunch of new stuff ready in the garden, and some stuff past ready.

Here are three quick recipes that I posted on Instagram. The Poblano peppers, banana peppers, straightneck squash, and snap beans were grown in our garden.

🥓🧀🌶🍄🍝🥒🌱

Bacon-Wrapped Poblano Peppers

Well, that turned out well. Got some poblano from the garden this week. I mixed some bacon bits, minced garlic, shredded cheddar cheese, and steak seasoning into some cream cheese, cut the peppers in half, stuffed with the peppers with the mixture, sprinkled more cheddar on top, wrapped with bacon, & baked on a sheet pan at 375° for 40 min.

Turned out pretty good if I do say so myself!

Snap Beans with Mushrooms & French Fried Onions

Some fresh snap beans from the garden. Steamed, then tossed in with some sautéed mushrooms, French fried onions, minced garlic, a pinch or 2 of flour & fresh cooked bacon pieces. (Used the leftovers from the peppers.)

Straightneck Squash Parmesan

Had some straightneck squash that grew a bit too big while we were at camp. I had it in my head to prepare it sort of like eggplant parmesean & fried zucchini. I didn’t want the stacked lasagna version, I wanted something with a bit of crunch.

I sliced then up, dredged in flour/cornstarch, egg/buttermilk. & coated in regular & panko breadcrumbs with a bit of parmesan “shake cheese” mixed in. I seasoned each step with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, & black pepper.

I baked them for about 25 or 30 min. on 400°, then topped with provolone & mozzarella slices & a bit more parmesan. They went back in for 10 min.

Served with bowtie pasta & covered in our favorite slightly doctored sauce.

Added the needed flavor to the overgrown squash and I actually preferred the consistency to eggplant.

🥒🧀🌶🥓🧄🍄🌱🍝

All in all, I was really pleased with the results, and I think the family was too.

Do you have some good recipes, tips, & tricks for these garden ingredients?

What do you like to grow and cook?