Answering the big questions: rice or potato?

potatosI’m currently on a ‘Clean Eating’ plan in an lofty attempt to increase the ratio of chocolate to vegetables as a proportion of my diet. (Actually my gym suggested we all do it, so now I’ve surrounded by angry and irritable Cross fitters armed with 300lb barbells. It’s put a whole new ‘life or death’ spin on working out)

As part of this ‘clean eating’ thingy, you stay away from all the usual things you’d expect (bread, white rice, potatoes, cake, marshmallow fluff, icing, basically anything white and sugary and delicious) and introduce lots of things with color. Like veggies and fruit and… more veggies…did I mention fruit? You’re meant to be so filled up with fruits and veggies that you don’t need lots of starches and grains (aka. the fun stuff). But for your 1 serving a day (yes, a day), you get to choose. Which for me has boiled down one choice – Sweet potato or brown rice.

Now I know the world is going to be 150 degrees by 2047 and the sea’s acidity is rising, but really… I find this decision more critical to my everyday peace of mind.

I mean, if you’ve only got one.. which is it? The sweet potato (the hint is even in the name!), or the slightly gritty but ever so versatile grain of rice?  I brought this up with a friend which led to a 4 hour, beer fueled (beer isn’t white, so I counted it as a veggie) debate to end all debates. So here you have the summary of our loud and highly persuasive discussion. (I think the lack of sugar had gone to our head).

Sweet Potato or Brown Rice: A discussion of carbs.

1. Portability: Winner – potato.

Potato: You can put it in your pocket and it goes out the same as it went out, you can cook it with zero equipment other than fire and you can easily eat it with your hands. In fact, you can even eat it raw if you’re feeling all Russian serf-like.

Rice: Rice in your pocket is recipe for a stop-loss ratio of 1:1 (and potentially some very itchy underwear), you need a pot to cook it in (and water), plus you can’t eat it raw without severe stomach cramping.

2. Attractiveness: Winner – rice

Potato: A sweet potato looks like something your dog found while digging in the yard. Its knobbly and dirty, often has bruises and cuts, plus whats with that pointy end? Is it trying to look like a turd?

Rice: Yes, brown rice lacks the overall zen like appeal of its white brother, but lets not get all racist on our grains shall we?  The uniformity, the silken texture of running grains through your fingers. Rice is a beautiful thing. Well, its more beautiful than a dirty knobby potato..as long as you ignore the Maoist, xenophobic implications of that.

3. Versatility: Winner – rice

Potato: Sweet potato fries, sweet potato pie, baked sweet potato ….? While the orange turd is delicious all on its lonesome (well, with some butter), its a bit.. well… boring. After all, its a potato. You can bake it, boil it, deep fry it, add a butt load of sugar to make it dessert and that’s about it. Still a potato. Its beun around for 8,000 years and people are still just baking and boiling that sucka… cos that’s about it.

Rice: Where to begin? Boiled, steamed, fried, baked in milk, ground and made into bread, rice cakes, rice noddles, hell its even a dessert – rice pudding. Risotto, Arroz Con Pollo,  Etouffee, Dosa, Idli, Juk (rice porridge), Congee… the list is endless and circles the world. Rice is a staple for most of world.. sweet potato.. kind of an Americas thing.

4. Weaponry: Winner – Potato

Potato: You can throw that thing with quite some force, and if you can muster up a sling shot, I figure you can take on a pretty athletic pig.

Rice: While you can throw rice, its mainly done at weddings. The only way you’re killing anything with rice is via choking. Which frankly takes too long. Potato all the way if you’re trying to stay safe.

5. Alcohol: Winner – Potato

Potato: One word – vodka. Nuff said.

Rice: Sake has kept those Japanese businessmen frequenting karaoke bars for some 30 years but it just doesn’t do it for me. Low key buzz.. but no-one is swinging from the chandeliers after a few shots of sake. A few vodka martinis however. Hold onto your hats, boys.

So on the basis of our conversation, the potato wins out. But since it always tastes like floury, sugary nothing to me, I’m going to go with quinoa. And save that debate for another date.

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