This section is from the book "Mrs. Allen's Cook Book", by Mrs. Ida C. Bailey Allen. See also: The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat.
In selecting potatoes, choose those of regular shape, medium size and with a smooth skin. A bushel of very large or knobby potatoes will not yield as much edible material as the same quantity of smaller ones, because they do not pack in so closely. Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dry place, although they must not be allowed to freeze. When sprouts appear, they should be rubbed off, as the starch of the potato is their food - the potato or "tuber" being a storehouse of starch for the nurture of the sprout.
Whereas the potato is a valuable food and has a most important place in the menu, it is not adapted to muscle growth, and, consequently, is not fitted to occupy the place of importance in the diet. Potatoes are approximately made up of one-quarter starch, three-quarters water, and cellulose or woody fiber, with a trace of mineral matter that these hold in suspension. They are also especially rich in vitamins. In preparing them all of the nourishment possible must be preserved. The two best methods for accomplishing this are by baking or steaming.
However potatoes are to be cooked, two rules must be observed - first, scrub them well; second, do not break the skin unless necessary to remove bad spots.
Select good-sized potatoes. Bake until mealy, then cut a thin slice lengthwise from the top and scoop out the pulp; for the contents of every six potatoes allow 1/2 cupful minced ham, 1 teaspoonful parsley (minced), 2 table-spoonfuls cream, 1 teaspoonful salt, 1/8 teaspoonful pepper, 2 well-beaten eggs and 2 tablespoonfuls butter. Beat till fluffy, refill the skins and brown quickly in the oven.
To steam potatoes, scrub well, leave the skins on, set in a steamer top over boiling water, or simmering meat, cover closely and cook about forty-five minutes for potatoes of medium size. The potato loses none of its nourishment when cooked in this way.
When boiling potatoes it is better to leave the skins on, as pared potatoes lose most of the mineral salts, which lie near the surface. Old, or poor potatoes, however, should be soaked an hour in cold water to freshen, and then be pared very thinly. They should be dropped into rapidly boiling salted water, partly covered, brought quickly to boiling point again and be allowed to bubble gently until tender when pierced with a metal skewer or steel fork. If they are soft on the outside before the centers are done, add a cup of cold water. This will drive the heat inside and they will be tender throughout. Drain at once, sprinkle lightly with salt, and shake gently over heat till mealy.
2 small onions
2 tablespoonfuls butter
2 tablespoonfuls drippings Paprika and salt Boiling water
Pare and slice the potatoes. Slice the onions and fry in the fat till soft and yellow. Then add the potatoes, a dash of salt and paprika and barely cover with boiling water. Simmer until they are tender, and the water has boiled away. Then allow them to brown.