Post #2 from our Easter week in Burgundy.
It’s no surprise, then, that after le pain and le buerre, my preferred ritual foodstuff in France is the boiled red potato. If any single food reminds as that all soil is not created equal; that tastes, textures, and nuances are the rightful provenance of specific places on our planet; and that the French concept of “terroir” and the Italian designation DOC are truly significant, it’s this small red tuber.
I challenge you: buy a red potato, boil it in lightly salted water, and bite into it. It won’t be like this one. It may be good, great even. But it won’t have the same sweetness. It won’t have exactly the same starchiness or lack thereof. Its skin won’t split and retreat from your teeth in precisely the same way. It will tell a different story, a tale of different dirt.
You may say I exaggerate, but I’ll deny it: I’ve never eaten a better potato. (OK, that enormous potato, wrapped in foil and baked deep in the hot ashes of Pitty Pat’s Porch 30 years ago at the South Carolina coast was right up there, but what is a food, ideally, if not the culmination of an experience of a particular place? So right here, right now, this is the best potato I’ve ever had the privilege of eating.)