Eggs & Potatoes: A Study in Versatility

I love to cook. Cooking is therapeutic, it’s fulfilling, it’s challenging, and it’s a great way to impress people. Baking is a little too much like my high school chemistry class, but cooking is great. It celebrates improvisation and a delicious meal is like a puzzle to be solved with fat, heat, acid, and salt. Finding that balance is rewarding.

That said, I often try to think of the most versatile foodstuffs out there, and I believe I’ve narrowed it down to eggs or potatoes. So now I will make arguments for both, and hopefully by the time I finish typing I will have arrived at a conclusion.

Let’s begin with eggs. Eggs can be prepared a million ways, and they’re all delicious. Fried, poached, scrambled, boiled, baked…it’s all delicious. And there’s the derivatives like deviled eggs, Scotch eggs, egg salad, and pickled eggs. Then there’s eggs in supporting roles like as part of the deep frying process, egg wash on baked goods, as ingredients in mayonnaise and a plethora of sauces. Eggs are great on their own. Eggs are great as a sidekick, eggs are just great. And versatile. Is there anything that egg’s can’t do?

But then there’s the humble potato. Honestly, do you know anyone who doesn’t absolutely love some form of potato? Baked, boiled, pan fried, scalloped, mashed, hash browned, French fried, spiralized, tater totted, potato-chipped…all incredible. Potatoes are a star, a supporting role, an integral part of breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. Plus, think about French fries and how many variations there are. Shoestring fries, steak fries, waffle fries, double fried fries, wedge fries…it’s incredibly versatile.

I am of the belief that everyone should know one great egg dish and one great potato dish. Want to impress someone? How about a perfectly executed omelet, or maybe a well-seasoned deviled egg, served, of course, with home fries or pan-fried potato medallions? Want to be a little more health conscious? How about a nice green salad with a medium boiled egg, seasoned boiled potatoes, and a citrusy vinaigrette? Sure, that’s not kale and tofu, but it’s healthier than a lot of egg-and-potato dishes.

So, which food is more versatile? I don’t know. I gave myself about four hundred words to make a decision and I completely failed to do so. Maybe I’ll meditate on it further over some bacon, egg, potato, and cheese breakfast tacos. Yeah, I think that’s what I’ll do.

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