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Coping with carb craving


We all have carb cravings. For me that equals bread, or sometimes potatoes. The best way I know to mitigate the sin is to make one’s carb dishes at home, from scratch. There are ways of making carb dishes a little less carbie, not to mention keeping the salt much lower than what you get in processed foods.

Potato cakes are a Southern institution — or at least used to be in the days when people still cooked. In our household many years ago, they were generally made with leftover mashed potatoes, with chopped onion, an egg, and cracker crumbs to soak up the egg.

Sometimes when I’m cooking potatoes, I’ll cook a few extra (in the skin) and put them in the refrigerator. They might then become potato salad, but they also can become potato cakes. The potato cakes in the photo were an experiment. Some people, it seems, use flour to soak up the egg. I thought that was worth trying. It was a failure. The flour ruined the potato-y taste and made the cakes too heavy. It’s back to cracker crumbs.

As I’ve written before here, we all should eat as though we’re diabetics, even if we’re not. That means being aware of the glycemic index of carbie foods and knowing some tricks for keeping the glycemic index down. With potatoes, you can lower the glycemic index by chilling the potatoes after they’re cooked. Even if you reheat the potatoes, the glycemic index is still lower. So cooking potatoes in advance and chilling them is a healthy as well as a practical thing to do. I don’t know of any reason why this couldn’t be done even with mashed potatoes. Just heat them up again with the cream and butter.

By the way, when I go to ordinary grocery stores (as opposed to Whole Foods), one of the horrifying things I observe is that it’s a tiny minority of people these days who buy fresh foods. Potatoes are everyone’s favorite vegetable, but only the Whole Foods category of people buys potatoes fresh. Other people buy all sorts of frozen potato concoctions. There is simply no excuse, not least because it’s such a waste of money.


  1. Jo wrote:

    This meal looks so good. Will have potato cakes this week with cracker crumbs. Always used flour. Looking forward to trying a new way. Thanks for the advice regarding chilling potatoes to lower the glycemic index. I have learned a lot from this blog.

    Sunday, May 31, 2015 at 9:46 pm | Permalink
  2. Homer wrote:

    Well, having children is usually the excuse for buying frozen foods. These days with people being forced to work longer hours in order to sustain any reasonable level of income, cooking has been put on the back burner. Cereal, sandwiches, and frozen foods are the staples in my house currently, as my 21 month old daughter refuses anything healthy, so why bother cooking for two?

    Tuesday, June 2, 2015 at 8:54 am | Permalink

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