Have you ever thought about how much you love potatoes? Have you wondered how your time at St. Olaf has changed your love of potatoes? These are exactly the questions the A&Eats team stays up at night thinking about. In order to investigate the potato status on campus and answer these burning questions, I embarked on my own in-depth research — a potato week.
Potato week consisted of eating a potato-based food item during at least one meal a day for a week. Initially a diet of only potatoes was proposed, but the A&Eats decided against this for the well-being of the researcher. While the focus of this investigation was St. Olaf, potato foods from Carleton were included in the study. The potato foods in the study were selected to show variety, but some foods were repeated if there were no other options (cough cough grill line).
Over the course of the study, I sampled six potato food items. These included sidewinder fries from Carleton, breakfast potatoes from Stav, seasoned potatoes chips from grill line in Stav, tater tots from the Cage, bottom of the bag crinkle cut fries from Culver’s, and regular fries from the grill line in Stav. The reaction to the potatoes ranged from disgusted (seasoned potato chips) to life-altering (sidewinder fries). While there was almost always at least one potato option in Stav dining hall, it was often a side item from the grill line. Towards the end of the study, I was struggling to find potatoes that weren’t just that bowl of chips at grill. I was also surprised to not have a single potato-based soup or cheesy potato option (truly devastating).
Based on this initial study, the hypothesis that I love potatoes has been proven true. While St. Olaf has not affected my love of potatoes, it has affected my access to potatoes. I found it hard to keep up my enthusiasm for potatoes when there were such limited options. In the interest of unbiased reporting, I will acknowledge that this could be due to many confounding variables, such as a “bad potato week” in Stav or my taste buds being irrevocably changed by the sidewinder fries (truly the perfect mix of crispy outside and soft inside…still thinking about them). To truly understand the depth of this, more research is needed (Potato Month? I can make that sacrifice for science). In conclusion, I love potatoes and probably always will.