Poison Potatos / Papas Venenosas

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

I ENTERED THE KITCHEN LAST night to clean up behind San Geraldo as he cooked, and I noticed a package of broccoli florets at the end of the kitchen counter. That’s where SG leaves things for me to sort into trash and recycling. The florets had been packaged by the supermarket and, although they looked green and fresh, I assumed they were beyond their sell-by date. And SG doesn’t use anything past its sell-by date, so I wasn’t surprised when he said, “Those are past their date. I’m sure they’re fine, but you know me.” “Yep,” I said.

San Geraldo then told me, as he cut up potatoes, “I’m also worried I’m going to poison us with these potatoes. I’ve been cutting out the eyes.”

“And they’re poisonous potatoes?” I asked.

“No, but the eyes are poisonous.”

“I’ve never heard that before.”

He turned and grabbed his bible, “The Joy of Cooking” from the shelf and read:

“Don’t use sprouted potatoes that are green from exposure to light, as the green portions as well as sprouts are poisonous…”

“Well,” I reasoned, “That doesn’t say anything about the eyes.”

“But I’ve cut off all the eyes and they were starting to sprout!”

The potatoes weren’t green and I didn’t see any little potato plants in the stuff I shoveled into the trash, so I figured we were safe. Besides, I said, “Both our mothers always cut the eyes off the potatoes. And here we are.” But, just in case (jokingly), I texted our friends Tynan and Elena. If anyone is more fastidious about food safety than San Geraldo, that would be Tynan. If it passes muster with Tynan, I figure we’re safe. Tynan trained in this, has worked in restaurants for years, and was general manager of a hotel where he regularly ensured the cook and kitchen staff didn’t poison the guests. Elena is an exceptional cook and she didn’t poison either of her children.

So, I wrote: “SG just cut eyes off potatoes but he’s worried we’re going to be poisoned. He told me to tell you he loves you, in case we die tonight.

Tynan’s response: 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣.

Elena’s response: 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣.

“But, are we going to die?” I asked (on SG’s behalf).

After more laughing emojis and funny comments, Elena wrote: “How on earth are you going to die??? How will you get poisoned??? He is cutting the eyes off the potatoes! I’m sure the poison was only in the eyes… never mind the rest of the potato.”

More laughing emojis from them both.

San Geraldo’s response: “See?!? There WAS poison!!!”

I wrote to Tynan and Elena this morning to let them know we were still alive. I’m so happy I haven’t gone beyond my sell-by date.


ENTRÉ A LA COCINA ANOCHE para limpiar detrás de San Geraldo mientras cocinaba y noté un paquete de floretes de brócoli al final de la encimera de la cocina. Ahí es donde SG deja cosas para que las clasifique en basura y reciclaje. Los floretes habían sido empaquetados en el supermercado y, aunque parecían verdes y frescos, supuse que habían pasado su fecha de caducidad. Y SG no usa nada más allá de su fecha de caducidad, por lo que no me sorprendió cuando dijo: “Esos ya pasaron de su fecha de caducidad. Estoy seguro de que están bien, pero me conoces”. “Lo sé”, dije.

Luego me dijo San Geraldo, mientras cortaba papas: “También me preocupa que nos vaya a envenenar con estas papas. Me he estado cortando los ojos”.

“¿Y son papas venenosas?” yo pregunté.

“No, pero los ojos son venenosos”.

“Nunca había escuchado eso antes”.

Se volvió y tomó su Biblia, “The Joy of Cooking” [La Alegría de Cocinar] del estante y leyó:

“No use papas germinadas que son verdes por la exposición a la luz, ya que las porciones verdes y los brotes son venenosos …”

“Bueno”, razoné, “Eso no dice nada sobre los ojos”.

“¡Pero me corté todos los ojos y estaban empezando a brotar!”

Las papas no estaban verdes y no vi ninguna pequeña planta de papa en las cosas que arrojé a la basura, así que pensé que estábamos a salvo. Además, dije: “Nuestras madres siempre cortan los ojos de las patatas. Y aquí estamos.” Pero, por si acaso (en broma), les envié un mensaje de texto a nuestros amigos Tynan y Elena. Si alguien es más exigente con la seguridad alimentaria que San Geraldo, ese sería Tynan. Si pasa con Tynan, supongo que estamos a salvo. Tynan se capacitó en esto, ha trabajado en restaurantes durante años, y fue gerente general de un hotel donde se aseguraba regularmente que el cocinero y el personal de la cocina no envenenaran a los huéspedes. Elena es una cocinera excepcional y no envenenó a ninguno de sus hijos.

Entonces, escribí: “SG acaba de cortar los ojos de las patatas, pero le preocupa que nos envenenen. Me dijo que te dijera que te ama, en caso de que muramos esta noche.

Respuesta de Tynan: 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣.

Respuesta de Elena: 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣.

“Pero, ¿vamos a morir?” pregunté (en nombre de SG).

Después de más emojis de risa y comentarios divertidos, Elena escribió: “¿Cómo diablos vas a morir ??? ¿Cómo te envenenarán ??? ¡Le está cortando los ojos de las patatas! Estoy seguro de que el veneno solo estaba en los ojos … no importa el resto de la papa”.

Más emojis risueños.

Respuesta de San Geraldo: “¿Ves?!? ¡¡¡HABÍA veneno !!!”

Les escribí a Tynan y Elena esta mañana para hacerles saber que todavía estábamos vivos. Estoy tan feliz de no haber pasado de mi fecha de caducidad.

Sunday’s rainy afternoon and dry sunset.
Domingo por la tarde lluviosa y seco atardecer.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

33 thoughts on “Poison Potatos / Papas Venenosas”

    1. Jim:
      Even I, the few times I prepared potatoes, removed the eyes. But I had no idea there was poison involved. I’m SO glad I stopped cooking. Someone would be dead.

  1. Glad to hear you are still alive, you have once again foiled all attempts by your enemies. I trim obvious sprouts, if left exposed to daylight the skins will turn bright green – I toss them at that point.

    1. David:
      And in case you were concerned it was a slow-acting poison, it’s Day 2 and we’re still here.

  2. I winced every time I read “cut out the eyes” but, and I don’t do it because poison, I generally cut out the yes :::wince::: too. My mother just said it was how you did things.

    1. Bob:
      Even I have cut out the eyes, because that’s what I had always seen any cook do. But I had no idea there could be poison involved. I pity the poor person who made that discovery for the first time.

  3. spouse likes his baked potatoes; he only buys 2 at a time and keeps them in a dark dry place. no eyes to remove. when we have mashed potatoes (1 or 2x/month), we buy the instant kind (idahoan bacon & swiss cheese variety).

  4. The eyes have it! What ‘it’ is, is evidently subject to speculation. Can’t say we’ve suffered from potato poisoning and no doubt an eye or two may have been missed during peeling expeditions.

  5. I just break the sprouted parts off with my fingers and trim away any areas green skin. Still alive to tell the tale. So glad you and SG are too.

    Wonderful photos of the weather and the sunset.

  6. 1) I have never heard of anyone being poisoned by potatoes, (red, gold, green, Joy of Cooking not withstanding) and I know a lot of folks of Irish ancestry.
    2) But reminds me to beware of peanuts: “Found a peanut last night…cracked it open….it was rotten…ate it anyway…got a tummy ache…[…] died anyway last night….

    1. Frank:
      We even talked about the Potato Famine and the fact that people probably weren’t very particular about the quality of the potatoes they were eating… and they lived to tell the tale. Yeah, peanuts are another story. Was out to lunch in NYC with a PR rep in the ’80s. Mid meal she grabbed the waiter, whispered something, looked at me and said “There are peanuts in this sauce! Gotta go!” and she was rushed to the hospital.

  7. I love that sunset photo!

    I’ve heard that thing about green potatoes before, but I can tell you I’ve eaten both (slightly) green and (slightly) sprouted potatoes and they’ve never bothered me. I also wouldn’t hesitate to use broccoli (slightly) past its sell-by date. As long as it wasn’t visibly yellowed or deteriorated it would be fine. You wouldn’t get food poisoning from raw broccoli — there’s no safety risk — at worst it might not taste great.

    1. Steve:
      Rationally, SG knows there was no danger with the broccoli, but his irrational mind takes over in these things. The broccoli looked perfect. Oh well. I don’t force the issue.

  8. Gee, where would I get my entertainment if you both dropped over from poisoned potatoes!! I even eat (and serve) foods from cans past their sell-by date — tell that to San Geraldo and watch him blanch.

    1. Cindy Brick:
      You are SO right. When SG reads your comment, he WILL blanch. He has an uncle who was a Food & Drug Administration executive for years. He was an expert. They would have conversations about SG’s precautions and his uncle would laugh. He never observes “use by” dates, not even with eggs. He says if an egg is bad, you’ll know when you crack it open.

  9. Never heard any of that about potatoes and somehow have survived their attempts to kill me. I also use items past their sell-by-date and have lived to tell the tale.


    1. Janie:
      Oh the leftovers I used to eat from my refrigerator days and days later. And here I am. That’s San Geraldo. Gotta love him.

  10. I am the same way with expiration dates. Once the date comes, and I haven’t eaten it, I throw it out. I know it is a little nuts, but that’s just the way I am. And I have heard of the poisonous eyes of a potato before. I never knew what to believe!

  11. I go way beyond expiration dates with most things. A little common sense and some experience helps one to realize that most expiration dates are a ploy to get you to buy more stuff. Yes, a little conspiracy theory, but a little is ok. Canned goods last for years past their use-by dates. Fresh fish, not so much. I eat yogurt that’s been expired for months with no ill effects and no degradation of flavor and texture. And cheese, well, its moldy milk to start with, right? All bets are off once original packaging is open. That’s where common sense comes in. Green potatoes are definitely to be avoided.

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      After this confession, I think SG would be very nervous having dinner at your house… except for potatoes.

  12. This truly made me laugh. I also toss anything past it’s “sell by” date. Todd is not so meticulous.

Please share your thoughts...

%d bloggers like this: