Potatoes make for perfect fall football game fare

Maxwell Reister

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Football and potatoes are a great matchup. On a chilly fall evening, a baked potato’s steamy warmth provides lots of energy to shout support for the home team.

The potato’s portability makes it easy to smuggle into outdoor sporting events, saving the bearer from endless queues and price-gouging at the concessions stand. Potatoes are also shaped like footballs, which makes them great for an impromptu game of catch.

Baking potatoes used to require at least an hour in a hot oven. The modern microwave, however, can deliver you from kitchen drudgery.

Before we begin, a few myths and methods for nuking spuds:

Some believe potatoes will explode like steam-powered landmines if they’re not poked before cooking. The idea is that a potato’s thick skin holds in steam and results in messy potato carnage in your microwave. However, usually only russet potatoes have a thick enough skin for this to happen. You can poke them- or not- according to your preference.

Different potatoes cook at different speeds in different microwaves. This recipe uses a half-pound russet, which is also sold as the Idaho or baking potato. You can sometimes find your microwave wattage on the inside of the door, on the back of the unit, or the manufacturer’s website. The average wattage is around 1000, with higher-powered units being more time-efficient. Adjust the cooking time for both the power of your microwave and the size of your potato.

While this recipe produces one incarnation of the potato, this tuber is wonderfully versatile. The light fluffy texture and stomach-satisfying mass of the potato can be used with many different ingredients. Add milk and make a mashed potato, save a cooked potato for breakfast and have hash browns, dice one up for a potato salad, use it to calm down spicy foods, or to thicken soups. What is taters, precious? The root of the gods.

Microwave “Baked” Potato

1 large russet potato (½ lb)

½ teaspoon of large-grain salt

1 teaspoon of cooking oil

Optional:

¼ cup of shredded cheese

A dollop of sour cream

Crumbled bacon

Rinse your spud and scrub off any dirt using your hands and some warm water.

Pat your spud dry with a paper towel and coat it with the cooking oil and the salt.

Put it in the microwave on a microwaveable plate along with a few drops of water (this keeps your spud from getting too dry).

Cook the potato on your microwave’s “normal” power setting for 5 minutes (less time for smaller potatoes).

Remove your spud with an oven mitt, flip it, and put it back in the microwave.

Cook for an additional 3 minutes.

Remove the potato, slice it lengthwise and apply your toppings. Eat it once it’s cooled to a safe temperature or wrap it in tin foil and enjoy it at the game.

Tips: Store your uncooked potatoes in a dark cool place, like a pantry or a deep drawer. Do not keep them in the fridge as they will taste off

Do not eat potatoes that have started to sprout or have a greenish tinge, as they contain a mildly toxic alkaloid called solanine.