Spud. Tater. Tuber. Tottie. No matter what you call it, if you’re in Blackfoot, Idaho, you’re a-gonna worship it!
Quite obviously, the Idaho Potato Museum shares with you all of the riveting history, agriculture, and economics of the state’s most important product and the majority of the nation’s most important food product, the french fry.
Now, you may not get excited over a potato like I do. But there, they pique your interest in a lot of fun ways, like Potato Virtual Reality Headsets (you too can be a potato farmer and drive the tractor!), a Mr. Potato Head body car derby …
… and the creme-de-la-creme of the potato world, the universe’s largest Pringle! That’s right, this beauty is 25″ x 14″, contains 920 calories (the equivalent of 80 regular Pringles’ potato crisps), and is doused with enough preservatives to keep it intact since its creation in 1991.
Also, somewhat disturbingly, the “Potato Cellar” held these demonic little singing potatoes, which shall forever haunt me in my sleep. (Press play to get the idea, and then quickly press stop before the song lodges in your head. Advice from a professional.)
The Potato Station Cafe, with it’s little potato-fabric curtains, invites you to partake of potato-based concessions, including chocolate covered potato chips, shockingly delicious potato soup with a potato roll on the side, potato “silver dollars,” and huckleberry potato ice cream.
What the heck is potato ice cream? We’re told it is made by including potato flakes in a standard ice cream recipe. Here in Idaho (not just in Blackfoot), everyone eats their fries and potato products with “Fry Sauce.” It’s a light pink and highly addictive dipping sauce. Here’s how you make it, in case you want to give it a try!
IDAHO FRY SAUCE 1 cup plus 2 T. mayonnaise ¼ c. white sugar ½ t. salt 1/8 t. paprika ¼ t. ground mustard ½ t. onion powder ½ c. ketchup 2 T. red wine vinegar 1 ½ t. Worcestershire sauce Whisk all together until smooth. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. Store covered in refrigerator.
They also generously provide “Free Taters for Out of Staters,” in the form of a coupon for a free five-pound bag of Idaho potatoes from the small local grocery store. Score!
Also of interest to us in Blackfoot was hunting down one of the “Uniroyal Gals.” Far more rare than the Muffler Men, it’s a roadside fixture in only a few remaining locations, including Blackfoot, standing in front of Martha’s Cafe.
She’s probably much more demure than the one in Rocky Mount, NC, to be found in front of the “Men’s Night Out Semi-Private Club” (draw your own conclusions), reportedly wearing a gold belly ring. The creator of the original mold had a thing for Jackie Kennedy, which is obvious in Martha. Yep, she’s beautiful all right, but sorry gentlemen …. she’s spoken for!
Our fascination with classic fiberglass Americana reached a fever pitch last summer with a visit to Sparta, Wisconsin’s Fiberglass Graveyard, and our cross-country search for pink roadside elephants. The Uniroyal Gals may just become the focus of our next nationwide scavenger hunt!
We stayed in the City of Blackfoot RV “Campground,” located alongside a gorgeous city park, meaning our side yard and RV living area was a good 500 feet deep of lush grass, with water and electric hookups. Score!
Even better, right across the street is an enormous and rarely-used, city-run, off-leash Dog Park, and, inexplicably, a couple of army tanks (???).
Finnegan learned some agility tricks, in case her whole “beg for food” and “sleep in front of the bathroom door” gig doesn’t work out in the long run and she needs some other talents.
Also leading right out from the City campground is the Blackfoot Recreation Trail, a 10-mile asphalt trail completely removed from traffic, running past the Snake River with snow-capped peaks in the distance …
… and over the charming Cannon Bridge, thoughtfully made from reclaimed materials: steel beams from a bridge near Firth, wood decking and handrails from a trestle that crossed the Great Salt Lake, and wood arches from the Ogden Defense Depot.
That’s right, Blackfoot was “Idaho gold,” and we don’t just mean their potatoes!
Now we’re leaving Idaho and heading into Montana in advance of the Memorial Day Weekend!