One Studly Spud

My naturopath assures me that, according to the Carroll Food Intolerance method, I should absolutely not eat potatoes. "Small loss," I thought at the time. Then I remembered mashed potatoes, the way my Great-Aunty Ann makes them. And chips—potato chips. And French fries. Apparently, omitting potatoes from your diet also includes anything containing potato starch, like pre-made butternut squash soup. Sigh. Or enriched pasta flour, which has B vitamins cultured from a potato base. That's complicated. Or dextrose, which is found in ham, canned foods, and bacon. And baking powder. Oh dear. And tapioca. And yeast. Good grief.

I have committed to omitting potato from my diet for 30 days. Unfortunately, also during this time I am taking naturopath-provided magnesium supplements, detox drops, and have upped my weekly exercise regimen. How I'll be able to tell if my Potato Famine is making a difference in my overall well-being, I know not.

All this tater talk makes me think of one in particular: Studly Spud. His history is one worth telling.

To truly appreciate the context of this story, you may have to have lived in dorms during your university days. Do you remember sharing one measly pantry cupboard with five other roommates? This is where a sweet potato began to sprout a forest of hopeful shoots: in the dark recess behind the ten-pound bag of my Japanese roommate's jasmine rice. This is where I stumbled upon the fine specimen that would, one day, be christened by my friend Brian Lee. 

Awed by the determined forces of nature, I gave this tuber a prominent place in my dorm room—right next to Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. It was only logical, in light of its neighbour, that I document its growth, and so I did. One month went by, and the pale, veiny-pink alien appendages steadily became shoots. Two months, and the shoots became saplings! At four months, I was openly boasting to every visitor, how profoundly superior my spud was. "It is a stud, beyond compare," I declared pridefully.

You know what they say about pride, and they are often right. 

I had attracted the interest of a certain male acquaintance, who was regularly frequenting our apartment in order to take advantage of our kitchen appliances while he waited for a late class. This man was unimpressed with my fine specimen, and took a jealous dislike to it. And man, in his envy, destroys that to which he cannot compare.

One fateful day, this man decided to pinch my poor potato. One hour later, I received this message, accompanied by these photographs: 

AshLEy ReITeR,
iF yOu EvER wAnT to sEE StuDly SPud aGaIN, YoU Had BetTer liSten tO tHESe dEmaNds!!! i wANt $12.31 iN sMalL unMarKed COinS, CaNteLoPE, jUIce, and YoU oN a ROad TriP tO CALIfornIa alL DeLiveRed To tHe JCC on OaK anD 41st FrIDaY at 7pM. CoMe ALOne and Do NoT ALerT tHe PoLice or YoU WilL NeVeR seE StudLY SPUD AgaIn...I'M talKing FrEnCH FrIES!!!
bAd, BAD MaN

You know what they say: never give in to a ransomer's demands! So, I didn't. This time, they were wrong.

I never saw Studly Spud ever again. Word has it, he was chopped up and planted and eaten. They didn't even save any of his offspring for future specimens.

Fortunately, I received a fair trade. That bAd, BAD MaN did convince me onto a California road trip after all, and 2.5 years later became my husband. So, you might say, one spud lost, one stud gained.