There is a crucial point in history. It’s a moment when the world has changed forever. One such mother was in 1987 when my brother returned from college and did two revolutionary things.

First, he brought his girlfriend to stay on the weekend. Second, they made spaghetti bolognese. Witnessing the addition of cans of tomatoes to ground beef was more shocking to me than allowing my mother to sleep in the same bedroom.

Flipping the forks, twisting the spaghetti, and playing games for the guests unraveled generations of table manners.

It was our first potato-free supper and Ireland never looked back. Since then, potato consumption has dropped by nearly 40%, and pasta and rice have settled in the carb space on the plate.

But at times like this, during a recession or war, I wonder once upon a time when my parents cultivated humble tubers, sowed seeds, and looked at the harvested fields.

This week, the World Potato Conference was held at RDS in Dublin. The conversation was more intense than usual as the war between Brexit and Ukraine put a strain on the food supply chain. Food security is no longer just a problem for developing countries.

People were often resentful of subsidies paid to farmers from the EU’s huge agricultural budget, but the policy was driven by post-war food security concerns. As hunger and ration memories receded, we drowned in global complacency, ate cheap food, increased obesity, and watched farmers go out of business.

In reality, food is getting cheaper and cheaper, despite constant complaints about rising food prices.

Sit firmly for some numbers. A recent study by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) by economist Jim Power found that over the past 11 years, average food retail prices have fallen by 9%, despite a 13% rise in overall consumer prices. did.

Between January 2010 and December 2021, average retail prices for vegetables fell 8.5%, frozen vegetables fell almost 20%, and potatoes fell 14.6%. Yes, prices rise as production costs for fertilizers, fuels, labor, electricity, etc. rise, but only after the era of crazy cheap food.

Food reveals a permanently wide gap between people’s words and actions. People say they disapprove the food Airmile and want to eat local ingredients. Next, watch how you drive 10 miles and save 10 cents in a supermarket that imports vegetables from the other side of the world.

Poor people are more vulnerable to rising prices because they spend most of their income on food, but the average consumer’s cheap food demand is a point between climate change, food security and nutrition. It exposes the failure of the internal organs that connect.

Potatoes are the typical victims of these structural cataclysms, representing both all problems and surprisingly simple solutions. Eat more spud – Irish spud. It will make the world and your life better, and you cannot get better value for nutrition.

I recently talked to Barry Mitchell, a potato grower at Hill Farm near Navan, Meath. He, his brother Padraig and his son Gavin represent the third and fourth generations of Mitchell who cultivate this land.

Jim Power’s IFA analysis identified that aggressive supermarket competition is a key factor pushing down prices. Cheap imports from the UK, which continue under the Northern Ireland Protocol, are also putting serious pressure on Irish products. He convincingly argues that regulations banning retail practices, such as low-priced sales, are needed.

However, Barry focuses on two other aspects of consumer behavior that affect the market. One is labeling. I think people often buy Irish potatoes, or many other Irish foods, but labeling is ambiguous or misleading. The old trick is to be “stuffed in Ireland” when food is born elsewhere.

He advises customers to do their best to buy from a small vegetable store that is likely to have bought locally produced spud. However, the main problem is the general reduction in potato diets with the false belief that potatoes are cumbersome to cook. In fact, potatoes don’t take much longer than rice, especially brown rice. Chopping and steaming potatoes will make it in no time (boiled in water is very 1980s, steaming, especially Cars Pink is the only way).

Barry observed the peak of potato popularity during the blockade when people began experimenting with cooking. His daughters followed the TikTok channel, demonstrating the extraordinary simplicity and variety of potatoes.

Sure, throw one into the oven while watching another episode of BridgertonAdd only coleslaw, baked beans, or good old butter and salt for half the price and gorgeous meals.

Summer is not summer without potato salad (with mashed potatoes, salad cream and green onions at home). No other product is cheap, nutritious, sustainable and easy to cook.

However, anyone who deals with cooking realizes that despite the popularity of cooking programs, many really forget how to make these simple dishes. Barry believes that children rarely see food at home and must teach cooking at school.

Of course, politicians who advised people to cook spuds to deal with inflation will be eaten alive.

Everything must be the fault of the government, and the only solution is more money.

But one of the few things we can control in our lives is the food we eat. So, eat Irish spud this weekend and help save the world.

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