“What I say is that, if a fellow really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow”
Baked potatoes are a central part of our lunch offering at St Martins. We offer them with butter, beans, cheese, tuna and coleslaw (and you can have as many toppings as you like, we don’t charge extra if you choose more than 1!) You can’t really credit anyone with inventing the jacket potato, but it was popularised in various ways…
In North America, Idaho farmers were struggling to sell their potato crops, because they were considered too large. Customers preferred smaller potatoes, so these larger ones ended up going to waste or feeding the livestock. However in the early 1900s, Hizan Titus, the Northern Pacific Railways dining car superintendent, found that with slow cooking these potatoes were really delicious. They were marketed heavily through the railway, and were one of the main foods you could buy on board whilst on your journey. There is even a whole museum dedicated to the potato, check out http://idahopotatomuseum.com/ A giant potato was recently on tour in Idaho, http://thispuglife.com/2014/07/the-big-idaho-potato-the-worlds-largest-catsup-bottle.html we have never seen a potato so big before!!
In the UK, jacket potatoes were hawked on the street around the same time. Though not quite so glamourous as the US story, it secured jacket potatoes as a staple food which is still enjoyed today.
N.B. This blog’s cover photo was taken from zurmat blog (http://www.zurmat.com/2011/09/05/worlds-biggest-potato/ ) we do not own this image.