A Brief Note On Fake Potatoes

Kage Baker loved See’s Irish Potatoes.

If you have somehow overlooked these most peculiar confections, they are a short-term novelty sweetie produced by See’s Candies to honour St. Patrick’s Day. They are a fist-sized ( a lady’s smallish fist, anyway) hunk of nougat. The nougat is appropriately formed into a suitable tuber shape – doubtless by some cunning machine related to the one that stamps out Chicken McNuggets – and then rolled in cocoa powder and studded with blanched almond slivers*. It’s packaged in one of See’s cunningly made holiday boxes, which makes it the only fancy boxed potato in the world …

It actually does look rather like a Russet potato. One that’s a little long in the tooth, because it has eyes sprouting. That’s what the almond slivers represent. You get cocoa powder all over your fingers and face and shirt front when you eat them; if you are a parrot, as well, you glue your beak shut with nougat. This makes your candy-eating partner laugh helplessly and spout cocoa powder everywhere.

Or it did, during Kage’s career of eating them. I don’t like the phoney tatties, myself, so I would just watch her and Harry fall on the annual single potato and get cocoa all over. See’s only makes a limited number of them every year, and you have to get them early to be guaranteed a taste: Kage mourned when she missed the chance. So I did drive around a lot looking for the things.

Kimberly and Michael love them, so Harry still gets his yearly treat. Luckily, what the household avidly prefers is corned beef, cabbage and real potatoes, all boiled to within an inch of their lives. We’ll eat up several meals of this noble menu over the next week or so, celebrating Spring in an historically relevant Celtic manner: rarely eaten meat, lots of starch, fat and dairy, and enough of it on your plate to send you into a buttery coma. Mmmm, festival food!

No teeny nougat potatoes, though. As they are always scarce, the aficianadoes in this house ate theirs earlier in the month.  We have chocolate Guinness cupcakes instead. Not even silly green sprinkles can dim the glory of chocolate Guinness cupcakes.

Stay away from the green beer, though. That stuff’ll kill ye.

* I have just been informed by Kimberly, Dear Readers, that they are not blanched almond slivers. They are pine nuts.  Well, see, I don’t eat the things …

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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6 Responses to A Brief Note On Fake Potatoes

  1. Mark says:

    Chocolate Guinness cupcakes!


  2. mizkizzle says:

    I always wondered about those See’s potatoes.
    Down at the Jersey shore, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated with corned beef and cabbage, soda bread, parades and, when I was in elementary school, the beating up and or ostracizing of anyone foolish enough to wear orange. Happy, innocent schooldays!


  3. Becky Miller says:

    Well now I’m intrigued. I’ll have to forgo my Cadbury egg splurge and try the potato nuggets.


    • Kate says:

      Oh, dear – unless you try a See’s today, you’re out of luck until next year! They never carry them over past the holiday. But don’t give up your Cadbury eggs for spurious potatoes, rare ballast for an empty belly or not!


  4. I just read your post aloud to myself in an Irish lilt. Perfection. … Chocolate Guinness cupcakes?!


    • Kate says:

      Yes, Shayne – chocolate cake made with Guinness instead of water for the fluid. They are rich and moist and the chocolate flavour is enhanced something wonderful.


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