Gastrokid Global Glossary – The Potato

Here at Gastrokid we’re always fascinated by the history and origin of our favorite foods so we’ve decided to embark on a global adventure (via the Internet at least) to build a glossary that will explain the history of food to kids and parents alike. Enjoy and let us know about any foods, cooking techniques you’d like us to explore and explain. First up…the humble spud…..

We know it by the low-rent nickname  spud, but six centuries ago the humble potato was considered an icon in the land of it birthplace – Peru.



Legend has it that when the founders of the great Incan Empire, Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, emerged from the waters of Lake Titicacca, the first thing the sun god Wiracocha taught them was to sow potatoes so they could survive. The Inca’s relied on potatoes for sustenance (along with corn) and so it’s not surprising to lean that Peru is home to over 200 varietals. 

But while we tend to boil, saute, fry and bake our spuds, the Incans favored a very early version of mashed potatoes. And not just because they like the cream taste! The Incan nation built up huge reserves of food by freeze drying potatoes and then grinding them up into a fine flour that they would store for the long winter months. To do so they took advantage of the elements. Families would leave newly picked potatoes outside in the heat of the day and freezing cold of the night until they have shriveled and dried up. When they were ready to cook, the women would simply add water to the potato flour.

As with so many of the riches in South America, it was the Spanish that introduced the potato to the so-called Old World. Sailors immediately realized their worth because eating potatoes prevented scurvy but still the tuber was a tough sell to mainland folk who preferred to feed them to their livestock rather than have them for supper.

Thankfully successive generations of Europeans woke up to potato power so that today potatoes and sweet potatoes are a staple throughout the world. Our favorite? This classic South American dish – Papas Relleno.

- Matthew

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Bon Appetit and Gastrokid’s Chickpeas

The Gastrokid chickpea bruschetta recipe is featured in Bon Appetit's 5 Things To Do with a Can of Chickpeas.

Go crack a can today!

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Holiday Foodie Shopper Alert: Gastrokid Cookbook Signing in Los Angeles

If you happen to be shopping for holiday presents this Saturday in Los Angeles, swing by the super friendly, well-stocked and smartly staffed Chevalier’s Books on Larchmont Boulevard where I’ll be signing copies of The Gastrokid Cookbook. I’ll be there from 1 to 3 with a fresh pen and few pithy culinary quips specially tailored for you or your giftees. If you don’t know already, Larchmont is the Mayberry of L.A. with requisite cupcakery, cafes, organic kids boutique, general store, wine shop, and just about every other shop you’d need to do all your shopping while avoiding the big boxes, malls, and other stress inducing retail behemoths. I’d love to meet you and sign a book or two.

Chevalier’s Books
126 N. Larchmont Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Tel: 323-465-1334
Fax: 323-465-6093

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Thanks Apartment Therapy’s TheKItchn: Smartest Gastrokid Review Yet

Apartment Therapy’s most excellent food blog TheKitchn sums up our book succinctly, sharply, with a short-attention-span breakdown of the practical and aesthetic charms of our book. They also posted our recipe for High Heat Roasted Vegetables (nicely timed for winter).

The movie poster sum up of the review would be:

“well-designed… highly entertaining… [an] inspiration… wry… love the photos… sensible yet fresh… we wholeheartedly recommend this bracing little book…”

Read the full review here.

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New York Post Weighs in on the Kid Foodie Phenom

Our favorite tabloid ran a smart and actually quite balanced story by Carla Spartos on the current cultural craze for all things culinary and juvenile (a few quotes from yours truly and a photo of our book after the jump in the print edition). First time I’ve read the word “Koodie” to describe Kid Foodies. You can read the story online here.

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That's the name of a Korean restaurant in New York garnering a rave review in the NYT today.

Not only is it making me hungry for good Korean barbecue but it's making me a bit wistful for New York dining in general.

Some Korean cuisine like jap chae and is fine and fun to prepare at home but for the full joy of a Korean meal surely nothing beats someone else doing the intricate prep and cooking for you!

The first time we took our 6 month old son to a Korean restaurant in mid-town Manhattan the waitresses basically baby-sat him while we enjoyed our meal. He was pretty cuddly back then though.

So Madangui is on my list of must tries for my next return to NYC, with or without the children!

- Matthew

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Niman Ranch Raises the Battle Cry for Locally Sourced, Small Scale Meat Production

A truly thought-provoking Op-Ed in the New York Times by Nicollete Hahn Niman (of California's famous Niman Ranch) that makes the case for eating meat responsibly as a way to counter climate change.

- Matthew

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An Essential Guide to Pasta

Don’t know your farfalle from your fettucine?

This new interactive pasta guide from the Guardian (in conjunction with the excellent Silver Spoon book) is a great help.

I thought I knew my pasta but Trofie foxed me. You too? Well here is the Guardian‘s take:


- Matthew


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Gastrokid Vid: Three Zone Grilled Pizza

The good folks at Wiley (the publisher of our new Gastrokid Cookbook) lent me their Flip camera and a tripod for the weekend. I enlisted Violet and Desmond to help me produce this video featuring a recipe from the book. We hit the farmers market, fire up the grill, and make a wholesome pizza that puts takeout to shame.

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Chicago Trib Reviews Gastrokid Cookbook

The big boys of media are starting to weigh in on the Gastrokid Cookbook. Today it's the turn of the Chicago Tribune who like the book a lot even if they think we're a little obsessed with Pimenton de la Vera (which we are of course!).


The reason is simple: de la Vera makes everything taste like bacon….how can you argue with that?

- Matthew

Posted in Gastrokid Cookbook | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments