29 June 2023
Idahoans have fully embraced their state’s love of spuds, resulting in some weird and wonderful results.
NO matter where you go or whom you ask, Idaho is always associated with one thing - potatoes.
The state produces nearly a third of all US potatoes yearly and made the potato the official state vegetable in 2002 and Idahoans have fully embraced their state’s love of spuds, resulting in some weird and wonderful results.
Westside Drive-in in Boise is home to the ice cream potato (pictured), an invention of owner and chef Lou Aaron, who purchased the neon-lit restaurant in 1994. Aaron invented the ice cream shortly after, and it’s been a staple at Westside Drive-In’s two locations ever since. The dessert is a vanilla ice cream ball shaped like a potato covered in cocoa powder and topped with whipped cream and crushed nuts. Chocolate sauce is drizzled over the top to complete the iconic Idaho dessert.
Then there's the Big Idaho Potato Hotel, located south of Boise, which is an Airbnb unit. It was created from a former six-ton potato replica hauled across the country for seven years as part of the Idaho Potato Commission’s Big Idaho Potato Tour, before finding a permanent home and being converted.
Although small inside, it has a custom-built two-person bed, furniture, a record player and electricity. Visitors can stay in the potato for $207 per night.
Since 2013, thousands of people have gathered near the Idaho Capitol in downtown Boise to watch a 17-foot potato with wings and billowing smoke slowly get lowered by a crane to ring in the new year.
College football fans will be familiar with Spuddy Buddy, the humanoid potato in a red sweater that can be seen on the sidelines of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl every season.
Spuddy Buddy is the mascot of the Idaho Potato Commission, which sponsors the postseason game at Albertsons Stadium in Boise. It joined the University of Wyoming’s celebrations following its victory over Kent State in 2021.
The Idaho Spud Bar, a soft marshmallow coated in dark chocolate and topped with a thick layer of sprinkled coconut is also made to look like a potato. It was first manufactured by the Idaho Candy Company in 1918 and has remained the company’s best-selling sweet according to the company’s website.
Located in the middle of downtown Blackfoot in Eastern Idaho, the Idaho Potato Museum was established in 1988 and guides visitors through the history of the potato, from the 1570s to the 1800s-invented machines used to cultivate potatoes in Idaho. The museum notably has the world’s largest collection of mashers and the largest potato crisp ever made.
The Potato Station Cafe is connected to the museum and serves various potato-related meals, including loaded baked potatoes, potato soup, and potato cupcakes made with potato flour.
Source: East Idaho News Photo: Idaho Statesman