Potato recipe ideas for after you see The Martian

October 7th, 2015

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Potato recipe ideas for after you see The Martian

Have you seen The Martian yet? I haven’t, but by all accounts, the new movie directed by Ridley Scott, starring Matt Damon, and based on a novel by Andy Weir, is pretty good.


If you haven’t been following the buzz, the basic premise is simple – Matt Damon plays an astronaut who is accidentally left behind on Mars and needs to cobble together the necessities to survive until rescue arrives. Sounds a bit like a cross between Home Alone and MacGyver in space.

As a relatively realistic science fiction film, The Martian is inspiring a fair bit of discussion in scientific circles. But oddly enough, it’s also generating a fair bit of buzz about potatoes.


That’s right, potatoes. The Martian, in essence, is doing for potatoes what Despicable Me and its sequels did for bananas.

Let me explain (mild spoilers ahead):

For Matt Damon’s character to survive on Mars until rescue can arrive, he needs to sort out a sustainable food supply. Using the vacuum-packed ingredients that his team had been saving for Thanksgiving dinner, and a supply of fertiliser sourced from his own body (think about it), he soon cultivates a healthy crop of potatoes.


This plot point has gotten various scientific and agricultural organisations pondering whether an adult human would be able to live on a diet of potatoes and potatoes alone. The general consensus seems to be that it would be possible, but not ideal. Pulses, such as beans and chickpeas, would probably provide greater nutritional value for stranded space adventurers. But you know what they say about beggars and choosers…


So if you go to see The Martian, be prepared to walk out of the screening with a not so inexplicable craving for potatoes.  Here are just a few ways to prepare and enjoy this classic vegetable (and some of the appliances that will help):

  • Potato bake – sliced potatoes, some milk and cream, stuck in the oven. Simple in principle, though tricky to truly master.
  • Potato and leek soup – cut up the ingredients into small chunks with a food processor, and boil them up on the cooktop.
  • Potato salad – again, the food processor is your friend here. Once your boiled potatoes are properly cubed and dressed, the salad can live in the fridge until ready to serve.
  • Chips and wedges – these fun snacks don’t have to be super-unhealthy. When properly blanched and quickly deep-fried at a high temperature, you can minimise the amount of oil in the chips. Alternatively, an air fryer can provide a similar effect, but with hardly any oil.
  • Potato gnocchi – essentially mashed potato, wrapped up in little parcels of pasta dough. A mixer with a dough hook can be handy here (though traditionalists aren’t fans).
  • Jacket potato – while traditionally baked in the oven, jacket potatoes topped with your choice of extras can also be prepared in the microwave – with some models including one-touch cooking!
  • Vodka – while this traditional Russian/Eastern European spirit is distilled from potatoes and other staples, we don’t recommend trying to make it at home. Go to the bottle shop instead, and enjoy responsibly.

Mark joined Appliances Online in November 2011 and has since learned more than he ever expected to know about appliances. He enjoys looking for new and unusual ways for to solve everyday problems using typical household appliances. When he’s not toiling at the desks of Appliances Online and Big Brown Box, he tries to find time to write the next big bestseller and draw satirical cartoons, but is too easily distracted by TV, music and video games. Mark’s favourite appliance is the Dyson Groom Tool, as he loves the concept of vacuuming your dog. Google+

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