Potato Science

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I remember seeing a guy take a fork, a regular potato, and a battery and make the potato glow. He may have also had some copper wiring.

If I remember right—and there’s no guarantee of that so kids don’t try this at home—he ran a wire from the battery to the fork, then jammed the fork into the potato and …

No, wait, I’m thinking there might have been two forks. And two sets of wires. So he created a complete circuit (or, possibly, just a circle) and made the potato glow. And not just glow, but it turned a lovely yellow-green color.

Lovely, I should amend, when one is speaking of a glowing potato. This was not the sort of color you’d like to see on, say, your little toe after dropping something (maybe a box of forks or batteries) on it.

Still, I’m surprised some restaurant hasn’t figured out a way to cook and serve potatoes in just this fashion. If your kids are like mine, potatoes only come in one edible form as far as they are concerned: French fries. And potato chips. And shoestring potatoes (which have almost as much nutritional value as real shoestrings).

OK, so my kids did eat a lot of potatoes, they didn’t eat them in “normal potato form”. Unless they were mashed. Or maybe scalloped. Or that way of serving them that sounds like “hawg rotten”.

Now that I think about it, my kids really liked potatoes!

For the purpose of this article, though, let’s say they didn’t like potatoes in their whole form. (But who can blame them? Potatoes have almost no nutritional value and when most of us tell people we’re “just having a baked potato” for supper as if we were on some virtuous diet, what we really mean is, “I’m having chili, cheese, chives, lots of whole-fat butter, some sour cream, several mushrooms and an entire bag of cheese and there just might be a potato under all that but I’m not going to look real close”.)

But I bet most kids would actually order potatoes on their own initiative if they showed up at the table glowing like something out of “Star Trek”! (The potatoes, not the kids.) It might be dangerous to give the kids access to a battery and live forks, though, so maybe someone can invent a special plate where the battery is concealed in the ceramic, with hot leads that come out and … no, that’s probably not safe, either. And I know some of you are thinking we should just give them a potato, a fork, and point them at the nearest wall socket, but I think the rest of us can agree that you need to be locked away for even thinking such a thing.

The only down side I can think of to this whole plan is that a potato that’s glowing because two electrically-charged forks are stuck in it smells like a swamp fire. I bet kids will overlook that little drawback, though, for the chance to bite into a glowing potato. Just remember, kids: take the forks out first!

And now that I think about it, it may have been a pickle so never mind.