The Potato Harvest by János Pentelei Molnár (1901)
August 19th is Potato Day! Potatoes have played  a huge role throughout history, especially in Ireland. I won't bore you with a long history lesson (you can look that up for yourselves on Wikipedia - seriously, does anybody NOT like reading those articles?!), but today I've got some unique potato recipes to share. Alas, I wasn't able to cook any this time!

Potatoes (1864)
(From A Poetical Cook-Book)
Leeks to the Welsh, to Dutchmen butter's dear;
Of Irish swains, potatoes is the cheer.
Wash them, but do not pare or cut them, unless they are very large. Fill a saucepan half full of potatoes of equal size (or make them so by dividing the larger ones), put to them as much cold water as will cover them about an inch; they are sooner boiled, and more savory than when drowned in water. Most boiled things are spoiled by having too little water; but potatoes are often spoiled by having too much; they must be merely covered, and a little allowed for waste in boiling, so that they may be just covered at the finish. Set them on a moderate fire till they boil; then take them off, and put them by the side of the fire to simmer slowly till they are soft enough to admit a fork. Place no dependence on the usual test of their skins cracking, which, if they are boiled fast, will happen to some potatoes when they are not half done, and the insides quite hard. Then pour the water off (if you let the potatoes remain in the water a moment after they are done enough, they will become waxy and watery), uncover the saucepan, and set it at such a distance from the fire as will secure it from burning; their superfluous moisture will evaporate, and the potatoes will be perfectly dry and mealy.

You may afterwards place a napkin, folded up to the size of the saucepan's diameter, over the potatoes, to keep them hot and mealy till wanted.

This method of managing potatoes is in every respect equal to steaming them, and they are dressed in half the time.

There is such an infinite variety of sorts and sizes of potatoes, it is impossible to say how long they will take doing: the best way is to try them with a fork. Moderate sized potatoes will generally be done enough in fifteen or twenty minutes.

The Potato Eaters by Vincent Van Gogh (1885)
Potato Apples (1896)
(From The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book)

2 cups hot riced potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup grated cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
few grains cayenne
slight grating nutmeg
2 tablespoons thick cream
yolks 2 eggs

Mix ingredients in order given, and beat thoroughly. Shape in form of small apples, roll in flour, egg, and crumbs, fry in deep fat, and drain on brown paper. Insert a clove at both stem and blossom end of each apple.

Potato Harvesting at St.Annes in 1927
Potato Pears (1900)
(From My Pet Recipes, Tried and True)

6 or 8 large potatoes
beaten egg

Boil potatoes, when well done mash thoroughly, adding a little butter, cream, pepper and salt. Mould into shape of pears, putting a clove into stem and brush over with beaten egg, and put into the oven to brown slightly.

'Digging and bagging potatoes', the Warrnambool potato harvest 1881 
Mock Fish Balls in Curry or Cream Sauce (1898)
(From The Golden Age Cook Book )

5 ounces of plain boiled potatoes
3 ounces of butter
1 slightly heaping tablespoonful of Groult's potato flour
2 eggs
onion juice

Curry Sauce
1 heaping tablespoonful of butter
1 heaping teaspoonful of flour
1 even teaspoonful of curry powder
1 tablespoonful of good Madeira

Put the potatoes through a patent vegetable strainer or mashed very fine. Add the butter and potato flour, the eggs slightly beaten and stirred in a little at a time, a few drops of onion juice and salt and pepper to taste. Have a saucepan of boiling salted water over the fire, dip a tablespoon in cold water and then into the mixture and take out in oblong balls as nicely and uniformly shaped as possible, and drop them carefully into the boiling water, which must not boil too violently as the mixture is tender and would cook to pieces. Put them in without crowding and let them cook three minutes, taking them out one after another as they are done. Put in a colander to drain while preparing the curry sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add to it the flour, curry powder, stir well and add milk until of the consistency of cream sauce. Put the balls into the sauce and let it come to a boil, remove from the fire, and add the Madeira. Serve on a platter, garnish with parsley and serve. The curry powder and wine may be omitted if not liked, and the balls served in plain cream sauce.

Harvesting potatoes in Idaho's Boise Valley, circa 1920
Potato Sausages (1915)
(From Dr. Allinson's Cookery Book)

1 pint of mashed potato
2 eggs well beaten
1 breakfastcupful of breadcrumbs
2 ounces of butter (or Allinson nut-oil)
1/2 saltspoonful of nutmeg
pepper and salt

Mash the potatoes well with one of the eggs, add seasoning, form the mixture into sausages, roll them in egg and breadcrumbs, and fry them brown.

Anje graduated with a Honours Bachelors degree in History with a minor in Museum Studies. She currently lives and works in Japan's least populous prefecture as an assistant English teacher.