The US Congress is apparently trying again to allow low-income pregnant women and mothers to use their food aid to buy "white potatoes," which they are not currently allowed to do. And various people with mashed potatoes between their ears are against this. 1 The argument seems at least partly to be about the nutritional value of potatoes, although it is couched in terms of the inability of women who get food aid to cook them properly. According to the Associated Press: 2

[T]he Institute of Medicine ... has said recipients of such aid already eat enough white potatoes.

It's not that white potatoes themselves aren't nutritious. But they're often used to make french fries, which are usually fried or baked in unhealthy fats and oils.

I have a question: can people spend food aid on prepared food? Can they, in fact buy fried potatoes with food stamps? And as a follow up, do the people getting food aid already buy and fry white potatoes with their own money?

Really, though, I'm using this silly story to point anyone who would like to know more about the potato's sterling nutritional qualities to listen to an interview with Carol Deppe, who knows what she is talking about.

  1. Others are against it because they are too dumb to know, or care, just what a white potato is. I kid you not: "[W]hy the emphasis on 'white potatoes'? Are Russets, reds, and other varieties allowed and the whites not? Or are they asking for an exemption for white potatoes and leaving the other ones out?" It's a wonder they didn't object to some white potatoes being Irish. 

  2. Which had dumped its own story, so I've substituted the one in the New York Daily News. 

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