English food has a bad (dare I say terrible?) reputation. Because of this people just assume that all the food in England (or even the UK) is awful. People cringe when you tell them you're living there and feel bad that you must suffer so. But I am here to refute the argument that British food is dreadful. I've already posted about the popularity and deliciousness of the baked bean and I've recently discovered the true brilliance of another favorite on this side of the pond. The baked potato. I first noticed it when my flatmates were discussing the proper length to cook a potato in the microwave (approx 8-10minutes). They loaded it with butter and had it for lunch. Interesting. I am definitely not unfamiliar with the baked potato. My dad grills a great potato (or sweet potato) in the summer, and mom wraps them in aluminum foil and cooks them in the oven. We usually just smother it with butter, sour cream, and maybe chives - but that's all.
I had the great pleasure of discovering (with some help of a guide book) The Baked Potato Shop in Edinburgh, Scotland. A vegetarian restaurant that focuses mostly on the potato but also sells samosas, filled pittas, and sausage rolls. The best part though is definitely the potato fillings. A novice to stuffing potatoes, I was amazed at the options the wooden board behind the counter gave me. From hot fillings to cold, from the normal to the quite exotic. At first I ordered timidly, just the cheese filling with butter and salt. Delicious. Next time I was a bit more adventurous. Vegetarian chili full of beans, zucchini, peppers, and tomatoes. A different kind of delicious. I could have chosen Greek salad (feta with tomato, cucumber, and olives) or avocado salad or Mexican salad (corn, beans, etc) or mushrooms or cheese and beans (of course they put baked beans in a potato!), but I was happy with my choices. Less inviting options were cheese, onion, and pineapple, or vegetarian haggis (I'm not sure how sheep's heart, liver, and lungs can be vegetarian...) or fruity coleslaw - but each to his own.
Moral of the story. Though some choices may have been unappetizing and unconventional, the stuffed baked potato is plus for British/English/UK food. I can't wait to get back to the states and make a baked potato bar for my friends. Must share the wealth! So next time you think you're fridge or cupboard is out of food and the few potatoes you do have look uninviting think again.