Even at an average supermarket, there are usually at least five varieties of potatoes. Most of us know which one to get for a baked potato (test: what's it actually called?) and most know what a sweet potato look like (wait, yam? sweet potato? which is it?), but beyond that, selecting the right potato for the right dish remains a mystery.
Basically, potatoes fall into three categories: starchy, waxy, and those in-between.
Knowing which potato to use for which dish is the first step toward success with potatoes. Most people who say they don't like potatoes probably haven't had a potato that was cooked properly. A scalloped Russet, for example, will be cloyingly dry and fall apart.
Next I'll give you some specifics, based on a recent trip to the farmers' market when I came home with sixteen different varieties of potatoes.
• Read on (and see a pictorial guide): Sixteen Kinds of Potatoes
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Republished article originally posted September 24, 2008.
(Images: Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan)