Last night while my wife and I were watching TV we saw a commercial for McCain Purely Potato chunks. It went something like this:
“Do you love mashed potatoes but making them takes too much time? Well we’ve done all the hard work for you: We’ve washed them and peeled them and cut them into cubes. Now all you have to do is thaw them, microwave and mash them. Introducing…”
Wait… what? Is anyone really this lazy? With a good $10 peeler and a knife the “hard work” takes about 30 seconds per potato. For most weekday family dinners (the kind where you’d arguably want to save a few minutes) that’s maybe a total of two minutes. I’m sure just finding these in the frozen food aisle would take as long.
Moreover, as a consumer you have no idea where these potatoes have come from or how many trips they’ve taken on a truck from one processing center to another then to the store. They may be 100% Chinese potatoes for all you know. Worst of all — they contain additives to keep them “white” after the skin is removed prior to freezing. Why eat that?
In Canada I find this all particularly offensive. We have excellent local farmers (like the Rose Family*) in most provinces who grow amazing potatoes and sell them VERY cheap (and sometimes at a loss). A 5lb bag can be as cheap at $3 in season even at the super market.
But what about those time savings? Some may say “I’m way too busy to make mashed potatoes. I really do need products like these!” To which I reply “If you want quick and easy mashed potatoes then microwave them instead of boiling them…” that’s where the real time savings is here and McCain isn’t doing anything other than offering you a convenient plastic bag to do that in. You still need to dirty a dish to mash them, you still need to add seasonings (if you do) and you still need to use some elbow grease to get a finished product.
Lastly, if you really are in this much of a hurry at dinner maybe you’d be better to just wrap a potato in tin-foil and bake it instead. It’d take far less prep time and your family can mash it with their forks if they want.
* The Rose Family farm is less than 50km from the CN Tower in Toronto, just East of Newmarket. They make AWESOME fries from potatoes they grow and a trip to their farm is well worth the drive. If you do go, try some “cowboy steaks” too. You won’t regret it.