So the world is getting warmer. OK. Agreed. Potatoes are a cold-weather vegetable. Yes? So. Chances are there might be less of them soon. So what’s the solution? Stop burning so many fossil fuels? Ha. You fool! The future is bananas – and plantains and cassava. They’re all in the running to replace potatoes as a staple crop.
Bananas and plantains aren’t perfect potato substitutes, but they could stand in as a staple starch at high altitudes, including in places that currently grow potato crops. (Imagine places like Ireland and Maine, covered with banana fields. Wouldn’t that be a trip?) South Asia might look to cassava, which if you’ve never had it is pretty tasty. It’s not as good as potatoes with truffle oil and bacon bits, or potatoes with ghee and salt, or potatoes with nothing. But, hey, given the choice between starving to death and ingesting enough carbohydrates to create the energy necessary to fight off bandits across the river coming to steal my potable water supply, I will eat cassava.
According to a United Nations committee on world food security, potatoes are just one of the colder-weather foods whose production will decline in the coming years, i.e. as the planet moves closer to death/Armageddon. Other cold weather crops under threat are maize, rice, and wheat. (A little confused on the rice thing — thought rice was fairly tropical? Hmmm.) At any rate, these dudes, in all their Cassandra-esque wisdom, are thinking that heat-tolerant, drought-resistant crops like cassava will be able to pick up the slack.
A friend today mentioned that in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, she and her wife were wondering how to inform their adorable young twins that in the course of their lifetime the planet was going to grow hotter and hotter, and that they would have to adapt. Here’s a suggestion for softening the blow. My friend and her wife can present old family recipes slightly altered — corned beef and cassava, lobster a la banana — and insist grandma’s been making it that way forever. They’re just kids — they’ll never know the difference!