A poisonous substance called solanin is found in or near the skin of potatoes which have grown exposed to the sun or a strong light. Solanin also develops when potatoes are allowed to sprout, and serious illness has been known to follow the eating of exposed and sprouted potatoes. Therefore potatoes should not be exposed to strong light or be allowed to sprout.

Potatoes cooked in dry heat, as by baking in the oven, roasting in ashes, frying in deep fat, or steaming in their jackets have a more pronounced flavor and are more savory than when cooked in water. But potatoes so cooked must be served just as soon as they are done, or else they will become soggy and bad-flavored.

Potatoes, if kept in a closely covered vessel or with the unbroken skins on, will become soggy and dark and have a rank flavor. If the skins are broken and the vessel ventilated, potatoes may be kept warm a long time without spoiling.

Potatoes cooked in the skin should be free from any blemish and washed absolutely clean. Old potatoes, that is, potatoes that are kept into the spring and early summer, are better for being soaked in cold water and peeled before cooking Boiled Potatoes. The method and time given for boiling potatoes are the same whether the potato be peeled, partially peeled, or left with the skin intact. If a dozen or two ordinary-sized potatoes are put on the tire in a large stew-pan and are covered generously with boiling water and a cover is immediately put on the stew-pan, they will be cooked to the proper point in thirty minutes from the time the cover was put on the stew-pan. Small potatoes will cook in two minutes less time, and very large potatoes will require about thirty - five minutes cooking. If the potatoes are to be boiled in their skins, wash them until clean and then with a sharp knife cut a narrow band of the skin from the center of the potato. Cut a little bit of the skin from each end of the potato. If the potatoes are to be peeled, use a very sharp knife and remove the thinnest possible layer. The skins may be scraped off, if preferred, and there are special knives for this purpose. Let the potatoes boil fifteeen minutes, then add 1 tablespoon of salt for every dozen potatoes. When the potatoes have been cooking thirty minutes, drain off every drop of water and let all the steam pass off. They are now ready to serve, though they will not be injured but in fact will be improved by being kept hot for an hour or more, if they are well ventilated in such a way that they dry rather than retain their moisture.

When boiled or steamed potatoes must be kept warm for any length of time, place the stew-pan on the range on a tripod or iron ring and cover the potatoes with one thickness of cheese cloth. This will protect them from the cold air and allow the moisture to pass off.

Baked Potatoes

Select potatoes having a smooth, un - marred surface. Wash perfectly clean and let them drain. Put them in an old baking-pan kept for this purpose - do. not crowd them - and put in a hot oven. If the oven is large and hot and the potatoes of medium size, forty minutes will answer for the cooking. On the other hand, if the oven is filled with cold potatoes the temperature of the oven will be reduced quickly and it will require an hour to cook the potatoes. Baked potatoes should be served as soon as they are done. If they must be kept any time after the cooking is completed, break them in order that the moisture may escape. Keep them in a warm oven or covered with cheese cloth in a stew-pan.

Reheating Potatoes

Cold boiled, steamed, or baked potatoes may all be utilized in savory dishes. In reheating potatoes the following things must be kept in mind: The potatoes must be well seasoned to make them savory, they must be heated to as high a temperature as possible without burning them, and they must be served very hot. The cold potatoes may be sliced or be cut into small pieces, seasoned with salt and pepper and browned in a little savory drippings, or seasoned as before and heated in the frying-pan with butter or the drippings. A little minced onion or green pepper may be added.

A tablespoon of butter and a teaspoon of flour may be stirred over the fire until the mixture is smooth and frothy. Add to this a pint of well seasoned potatoes and stir the mixture with a fork for three minutes, then add half a pint of milk and cook until thoroughly heated, being careful not to burn. A pint and a half of cold potatoes cut in cubes and seasoned with salt and pepper may be heated in a pint of the white sauce.

* Scalloped Potatoes. This dish may be prepared by mixing a pint and a half of cold potatoes cut in cubes and seasoned with a tablespoon of salt, one-fourth of a teaspoon of pepper, and a pint of cream sauce. Put the mixture in a shallow baking-dish, cover with grated bread crumbs, and dot with butter. Bake half an hour in a moderate oven.

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Wash the potatoes and bake the same as white potatoes. Small ones will bake in half an hour, while very large ones will require an hour or more. If the potatoes are liked very moist and sweet, bake from an hour to two hours, depending on size.

Browned Sweet Potatoes

Boil medium - sized sweet potatoes forty-five minutes. Peel them and cut in halves lengthwise. Put them in a baking-pan and baste with drippings, and season with salt. Cook them in a hot oven for twenty minutes.

Fried Sweet Potatoes

Cut the boiled potatoes in slices and fry brown in drippings. Or the potatoes may be cut in four parts lengthwise, put in a frying-basket and be cooked for ten minutes in smoking hot fat. The fat must be deep enough to cover the potatoes.