There’s an organisation watching us from the shadows. They control our food production, sabotage imports, and take part in secretive rituals in a network of tunnels under our major cities.
Just kidding. I’m talking about the Potato Council, a superlatively named, but largely pedestrian, organisation which aims to promote the potato industry through awareness campaigns and advice for farmers and consumers.
The Council first piqued my interest a couple of years ago, when they appeared on an episode of Countryfile. A tweed-clad ruddy-faced ambassador of potato interests appeared on the screen, chatted about the different kind of spuds you can find, and then dropped in that fabulous name. (For a reason I truly don’t understand, the term Potato Council doesn’t seem to appear anywhere on the official website, but it is listed on Wikipedia.)
Pleasingly, Wikipedia lists the organisation’s purpose as “Potatoes in GB.” To my surprise, considering how excited the guy on Countryfile was, and indeed considering how excited I was to discover such an organisation, the Council only organises a couple of campaigns – the fairly predictable “Love Potatoes” and the Public-health nightmare that is “National Chip Week.”
Incidentally, on trying to find out more about integrating Chip Week into my calendar, I was met with nothing other than this irritating error page:
After a brief search on the official website, I have to admit I came away disappointed. I love potatoes as much as the next person, and, as I mentioned, the idea of an organisation named the Potato Council really excited me; but I couldn’t find any way to relate the information to my life.
And National Chip Week is all well and good (or would be, if the link weren’t broken…), but I can’t help but feel that promoting the local chippy is less than logical, given the general consensus that we ought to be moving away from a greasy newspaper-full of deep-fried goodness. Plus – how many times a week could a person conceivably be expected to eat chips? I would’ve thought it would be more effective to campaign for a regular chip day.
That said, the Council’s sister website ‘Love Potatoes‘ does answer that concern, providing a pretty decent selection of recipes – not just a lot of suggestions for jacket toppings, as I’d feared. As the gentleman on Countryfile had suggested that the decline in potato consumption was largely due to quick alternatives, like rice and pasta, I was pleased to see that a lot of the recipes weren’t too time consuming: some of the quicker mid-week meals are only meant to take around twenty minutes. Furthermore, there’s an option to sort the suggestions by cost – a necessity for a student like myself.
Still, after a couple of hours looking at agricultural statistics, I can’t help but feel that I would’ve been happier imagining a mysterious cult whose sinister misdeeds go all the way to the top.