Who doesn’t love a potato? Baked, boiled, fried, smashed, mashed or hashed, served with ranch dressing, sour cream, ketchup or just plain salt and pepper, they’ve been a staple in our diets for centuries.
Perhaps it’s only been recently that scientists have confirmed just how nutritious the vegetable is, too, particularly when cooked in its skin with little or no fat. The potato is heaped with fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, potassium, iron, zinc and calcium.
But, of course, our grandmothers didn’t know that. They only knew it filled bellies and grew cheap. They also knew it had other benefits as well.
I’ve collected fun little pamphlets about recipes and remedies from our pasts and always enjoy reading how mothers and grandmothers took care of their families using what little they had. Some were clever. Some made me frown. Some grossed me out. But all were fascinating, and I’d love to share of few from my collection.
Medicinal Tips, in the patient’s own words:
“I had a wart on my hand as a child growing up in Brooklyn. My mother cut a potato in half and rubbed it on the wart, then she buried the potato. The wart disappeared and never returned.”
“When I had a headache as a child, my grandmother would slice a potato, put the slices on my forehead and tie them with a bandanna.”
“A potato poultice will give rapid relief from sunburn. Grate raw potato and spread between two layers of gauze. Apply to the face or other affected parts For severe sunburn, a doctor’s advice is necessary.”
“To soothe swollen eyelids, apply raw potato cut in rounds each morning and evening.”
“If there is no broken skin, rub minor burns with a slice of raw potato.”
“When we were growing up in the 1920s (there were 14 of us kids), if we got sick, Mama cooked sliced potatoes on top of a wood stove. After the potatoes were brown on both sides, she put salt and homemade butter on them. We kids thought that was really worth getting sick for.”
**Disclaimer: These tips are for your reading pleasure only. I do not endorse them in any way. If needed, please consult your doctor.
Handy tips from the kitchen:
“To rescue over-salted dishes, put some rounds of raw potato in the middle of the dish.”
“Boiled potatoes for a salad will absorb less oil and taste better if you sprinkle them with white wine while they are still warm. Add the dressing when they have absorbed the wine.”
“Rubbing a raw potato on your shoes before polishing them helps to make your shoes shiny.”
Of course, we can’t have a blog on potatoes without including a recipe, can we?
Cheesy Vegetable and Potato Soup
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 1/2 cups of potatoes (I add more)
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup diced onion
1 20 oz bag California blend vegetables (or two 12 oz.)
2 cans 98% fat-free cream of chicken soup
1 lb lite Velveeta cheese
1 can chopped chilies
- In small stock pot, dissolve bouillon cubes in 4 cups of water. Add potatoes, celery and onion. Cook 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook California blend vegetables until tender. Drain and chop into smaller pieces.
- Add to potato mixture and cook about 6 minutes.
- Add both cans of soup, the Velveeta cheese and chilies.
- Stir to melt cheese and heat through.
Note: I made this often when I was on Weight Watchers. It’s surprisingly low in calories and so good! You can use more potatoes and Mexican Velveeta cheese but they will be a bit higher in calories.
What about you, your mother or grandmother? Did they use a potato for a home remedy? What other home remedies did your family use?
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