Propitious Esculent | Great for Banks and Bodies

What is a propitious esculent?

Breakfast potatoes! Image from

Breakfast potatoes! Image from

A propitious esculent, quite simply, is a potato. The potato is one of the least expensive and most versatile foods in the world. Potatoes were a form of debt survival during the Depression in the U.S. and a staple food for poor families in other countries throughout history.

Author John Reader last year released a book called “Propitious Esculent: The Potato in World History.” One review on Amazon says the book “Propitious Esculent” is an “impressively researched account.” So if you want to know all there is to know about the potato, check it out.

Tasty and tubular

To honor the propitious esculent for providing families with inexpensive food for so long, I looked up some great potato recipes to show how many creative ways you can  use a potato.

Irish Potato and Apple Pudding


6 ounces mashed potatoes
5 medium baking apples, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter, melted
8 ounces self-raising flour
4 tablespoons Milk
Brown sugar or white sugar
2 whole cloves
Juice of half a lemon
3 tablespoons cider


Stir melted butter into warm mashed potatoes. Add pinch of salt and flour. Mix well. Add enough milk to make a soft dough. Roll out potato dough and line a one quart bowl with part of it. Set aside enough dough for the top of the pudding.

Fill dough with the sliced apples, sweetened to taste with the sugar. Add  whole cloves, lemon juice and cider. Dampen potato pastry edges, lay on the top and press down.

Cover with foil. Steam or cook (set in a pan of boiling water up to the rim) for two to two and half hours. Cut pudding in wedges. Serve with cream or custard.

Greek Potato Salad

4 medium peeled potatoes, cut into half-inch chunks
8 oz green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
3/4 c. buttermilk
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 TB fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
Large cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, thinly sliced
1 c. cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 medium red onion, halved, thinly sliced
1/4 c. snipped fresh dill
4 oz crumbled feta cheese

Boil salted water in a large pot and simmer potatoes for 12 – 15 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add green beans. Cook 2 more minutes. Drain.

Combine buttermilk, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt in a large bowl. Add potatoes and green beans. Toss gently to coat. Add cucumber, tomatoes, red onion and dill; toss gently. Let cool to room temperature. Serve at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate before serving. Garnish with feta cheese.

Indian Potato Curry with Tomato

2 small potatoes
1 tomato
1 small onion
half a fresh, hot green chili
2 TB vegetable oil
1/4 tsp mustard/cumin/sesame seed mixture
1 dried hot pepper
2 TB cilantro
half a garlic clove
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp cumin/coriander powder
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp masala

1/4 cup fresh or dry unsweetened coconut
Peel potatoes and simmer in a small saucepan until soft. Chop potatoes.
Chop and mix together tomato, onion and chili.

Heat vegetable oil, mustard/cumin/sesame seed mixture, dried hot pepper, chopped cilantro and diced garlic. When seeds pop, add tomato mixture cumin/coriander powder, tumeric, salt and masala. Add potatoes and lemon juice; toss gently.

Turn off heat and add more cilantro and coconut. Add water to make gravy.

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