The Redskin Ruckus and other culinary controversies


If you’re not a sports fanatic, you probably haven’t heard the recent hoopla over the National Football League team called the Washington Redskins. The media is in an uproar (come on, after all these years) over the allegedly disparaging name that is considered a politically incorrect slur against Native Americans. The solution is a simple one. Make the team’s mascot a redskin potato. Which brings us to the food community with a slew of insulting innuendos of its own. Some of these will really give you something to beef about.

Let’s start with the redskin potato (the skin hue is really closer to pink, rosé or magenta), which is on an even playing field with the Washington Redskins. Isn’t this lowly spud also the victim of an offensive nomenclature? In addition, there is absolutely no allegiance to Native American cuisine, as the main carbohydrate of choice is maize or corn.

Then there’s red onions, red grapes, red beets, red wine and red caviar giving them an unfair tie-in with Communism and the Red Scare. While blueberries, blue cheese and blue corn might be insensitive to those suffering from depression, and bananas can refer to other psychological problems.

Green Giant brand food, along with jumbo sea scallops and extra large eggs, could be viewed as insulting to tall or large folks, while shrimp, baby (carrots, spinach, corn, cucumber, and broccoli), miniature squashes, Brussels sprouts and munchkin pumpkins could be seen as offensive to the little people. Let’s not forget about Tom Thumb or baby redskin potatoes, which are a double affront.

String beans, shoestring potatoes, thin mints and thin spaghetti have a negative connotation for skinny people, while Ugli fruit pokes fun at the physically unattractive. We’re talking age discrimination with Granny Smith apples, old cheeses (particularly Parmesan and cheddar), preserved and pickled vegetables along with vintage wines and other gracefully aging alcoholic drinks.

Finally, tender young peas, spring chickens, extra virgin olive oil, honey, sugar, cheesecake and hot tamales are possibly caught in the crosshairs of sexual harassment.

You get the picture. Now, back to those redskins (potatoes, not players, of course). Of the more than 5,000 varieties of potatoes, the redskins make up the lion’s share. The thin-skinned, white waxy fleshed, robust-flavored spuds range from small to medium-sized and round to oval-shaped, including the Ida Rose, French Fingerling, Pink Pearl, Red Pontiac, Lady Rosetta and Ruby Crescent. These versatile tubers of Peruvian origin can be roasted, fried, baked, boiled, blended in soups or stews, or made into a potato salad as they hold their shape well after cooking. They absorb aromatic flavors, complementing both comfort foods and exotic dishes, and are equally scrumptious served hot or cold.

This low-fat, high-carb powerhouse is rife with vitamins and minerals, along with a goodly amount of protein. They are especially loaded with stress-busting B6’s, immune-boosting Vitamin C, bone and blood’s ally, Vitamin K, riboflavin and folate. There’s more. Redskins are a good source of copper and potassium for dialing up energy, with smaller amounts of magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and selenium.

Winning Redskin Smashed Spuds


3 pounds of redskin potatoes, (baby creamers, Ida Reds, your choice)

1 1/2 cups of half-and-half cream or whole milk (adjust to desired consistency)

1/4 pound or 1 stick of unsalted butter

1/2 cup of Greek yoghurt (unflavored)

3 garlic cloves, minced

Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

2 scallions, thinly sliced (for garnish)

Method: Scrub potatoes, and place unpeeled in a large saucepan or stockpot, with enough water to cover, and a sprinkling of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered for about 20 to 25 minutes or until tender to a fork. Drain and return to the pot. Mash with a hand masher, a ricer or an electric mixer using a paddle attachment. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the butter on low and sauté the garlic until tender. Add the cream (or milk) and heat through. Blend into the potatoes. Gently fold in the yoghurt, and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped scallions (optional). Enjoy immediately.

--For additional redskin recipes, email