It's always a lot of fun at the classes as the women are shocked at things I find normal (eating mushrooms raw, eating pumpkin skin) and do things I feel are shocking (washing onions- before peeling, eating the mushy part of the pumpkin that surrounds the seeds) so there's a whole dialogue going on.
Today we were using potatoes. And peeling them. I'm not much of a peeler normally but this recipe is better without random pieces of ghostly potato skin floating around. So I grabbed a potato and started peeling.
"Ehhhh? You didn't wash the potato???"
"Before I peel it? Of course I'll wash it afterwords."
"We wash before and after."
I continued peeling and then started to chop.
"Ehhhh? You didn't cut out the eyes??"
I knew you shouldn't eat green potatoes and I knock off the sprouts before I use them if they have any but I didn't know anything about the eyes.
"The eyes are poisonous."
"What kind of poisonous?"
"Diarrhoea and vomiting, stomach pain."
"Really?? I've never had any of that and I always eat the eyes...."
"You should stop!!"
I was pretty dubious as one of the perks of living in a neighbourhood full of old wives is the ready availability of old wives tales and I was ready to rack this up with other life threatening acts: having your bellybutton uncovered, sleeping with the window open and drinking water (rather than tea) from a water bottle kept at room temperature.
Then one of the women piped up
"The poison's called solanine."
Hmmm.... Old wives tales don't usually come with facts like that...
So I came home and googled and according to this site anyway, they're right!
This is a little worrying as we grow our own potatoes and, while we keep them in a wooden crate with newspaper all around in a dark, cool place, by March they have definitely sprouted. I usually just break the sprouts of and cook as is. Not even peeled let alone de-eyed. Shock!
But when I mentioned that my family have never been sick from eating potatoes with the eyes intact the general consensus was that maybe I had conditioned our systems to low level potato poison through years of tuberous abuse.
But that's no help for my poor house guests who have been subjected to only one or at most a couple of my poisonous offerings....
So, apologies if I inadvertently poisoned you and please bring your paring knife next time you come because now that I have experienced de-eyeing potatoes I realise how much of a laborous and pernickety job it is!