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Overheard walking down the NYC street yesterday: “I don’t eat potatoes; it’s a texture thing.” A curious statement given the tremendous variety of potato preparation, not to mention potatoes themselves. Mashed potatoes, potato gratin, boiled potatoes, shredded and fried potatoes…the textures (and flavors) are endless. And did we mention…delicious?

Perhaps this–the glory of the potato–is what caused the UN to declare 2008 “The International Year of the Potato.” Some people might argue for 1845 being the year of the potato (that’s the Irish potato famine, for those non-history buffs out there), but that was about lack, and we’ll hope that this one’s about bounty. The UN made this decision and set up their website as part of a worldwide initiative to raise awareness about potatoes, and their ability to play a part in food security. As they say on their site: They’re grown worldwide. They feed the hungry. They’re good for you. Demand for them is growing.

Another interesting part of the site is the discussion of potato diversity and the discussion of genetic engineering of potatoes, side by side.

Slow Food USA has three potato varieties on its Ark of Taste:

The Green Mountain Potato, very popular in the latter half of the 19th century

Ivis White Cream Sweet Potato, an extremely endangered and unique variety and

The earthy, nutty, pacific northwest fingerling variety called the Ozette.