Thursday, June 17, 2010

Not a Thief of Time

Don't fear the spud.

The commercial for the following product irks the hell out of me.
It's a simple unadorned potato product ready for use and the ad for it starts out about how you don't have the time to mash potatoes. It is a sad statement on people's priorities if they can't even organize enough time for that.
McCain Purely Potatoes (TM) are clearly meeting a need and good for the company for realizing it and going after the market.
All that aside, the mere fact there's a market for potatoes that are already peeled and cut and ready to cook bothers me.
Seriously, how long does it take to peel a potato or three?
What delights me, though, is users of this product still mash their own spuds once they're out of the microwave or off the stove.
Consumers are being sold on the notion that they're saving time by using this product.
What are they saving? The potatoes still take as long to cook no matter who peels them. Any sitting afterward, or additions of milk or butter or garlic or what-have-you take as long.
It takes a few minutes to get the potatoes, and then peel, wash, and cut them. It takes not quite as long to get the package from the freezer and open it.
Fair enough. I'd say a consumer of this product does save 3-5 minutes.
But tell me something, how much money is it costing them to save those minutes?
A 10 lb. bag of potatoes is relatively cheap on it's own. Compare it against a ready- to- go product and those become some very costly minutes.
I think that's what galls me the most about the commercial for this product. It's not the humble spud itself; it's the idea that we don't have enough time to feed ourselves and underneath it is the suggestion that if you do have this time, then you are not part of the current culture.
You have time? What's wrong with you? Where are you failing in you life that you have enough time to peel your own potatoes?
I say enough is enough. Having the time to prepare your own food is not a sign of failure.
People, take a stand. Grab a peeler and take back your life, one spud at a time.


messymimi said...

I will continue to draft one of my kids to peel the potatoes, or do it myself, thank you very much.

I will also continue to take the time to cook a good, wholesome dinner for my family every night of the week.

I'm on your side on this.

Leah J. Utas said...

Messymimi, I knew I could count on you. I'm glad to learn you've got your kids on it, too. A peaceful, proper meal is more important than just about anything anyone's signed up for.

the Bag Lady said...

One wonders, too, what those prepared spuds taste like. I agree with you wholeheartedly - how long does it take to peel a few spuds?

Perhaps we should start a "real food" movement.... taking back our lives, one spud at a time (I loved that, BTW)... starting with growing them! Well, okay, perhaps not everyone has room to grow their own food, but c'mon people! It only takes a few moments to peel spuds.
Great post, cousin!
(And this could be the basis for my world domination plan.... Please submit your ideas for mottos....)

Leah J. Utas said...

I, too, wonder what they taste like. Not enough to go out and get some, though.
I wish more people were able to grow their own food. Even a wee bit of it. I think they'd appreciate it more and would be less likely to stuff themselves with crap.
Thanks, Cousin. World domination through real food. Yeah!

Writing Without Periods! said...

I used to peel potatoes with my grandmother and we'd eat the skins raw with salt. Good memories.

Barbara Martin said...

I prefer the old fashioned way, Leah. Ever wonder what kind of preservative the company is using to keep their product long lasting. Apart from being frozen.

Leah J. Utas said...

I believe there's the goodness of sodium phosphate in every bite, Barbara.
The old-fashioned way is tastier, healthier, and just plain better.

Maris said...

Why bother peeling potatoes in the first place? I've read somewhere that we take out valuable nutrients by discarding the peel. so I'll just scrub my potatoes well, bake them and just mash them well with my own teeth. No thanks to these supposedly-time saving spuds.

solarity said...

I'm continually amazed by the number of people who can't cook. Not so much by people who can't clean, or garden, or mend clothes or plumbing, but EVerybody eats!

(These thoughts brought to you by the upcoming potluck at work, where I shall eat some very strange things...)

Mary Anne in Kentucky

Leah J. Utas said...

Maris, I do that, too, when the spuds are fresh. Once they've been around a few days and get wrinkly it doesn't work so well.

Solarity, I wonder that, too. If we are physically and mentally able to feed ourselves, then we should know how to do it. Have fun at the potluck.

Nancy said...

Amen! Not to mention they are using packaging that goes directly to the landfill to live for another thousand years!

Leah J. Utas said...

Nancy, I didn't even think about that. You're right. That makes them even less of a good idea.

Leah J. Utas said...

Mary, I love raw potato. Never thought to eat the skins like that, though.

Reb said...

I have a tenancy lately to avoid potatoes altogether, unless I can get them at the farmers market. It seems the last few years, they all smell and taste musty and I have wondered if that is because all the 'good' ones are winding up as frozen spuds in one form or another?

Leah J. Utas said...

Reb, it's hard to say. Maybe they just hang around the warehouse too long. With the sprout inhibitors one never knows how old a spud might be.

Kathryn said...

I agree!

Leah J. Utas said...

Hello Kathryn,
Good to see you here. Thanks.