A news release from one of our senators back in the Beltway crossed my desk this week, filled with praise for her efforts to restore millions of dollars in federal funding for agricultural research that had been cut by the Bush administration.
The press release listed all the fantastical research projects that could get a little Miracle Grow, thanks to taxpayers.
One research project caught my eye: potato breeding.
I had never really thought about potato breeding before. Being a city kid, I was unschooled in such matters. I always imagined that nature naturally took its course down on the farm and breeding programs weren’t necessary.
Well, it turns out, I was wrong. Without potato breeding, we wouldn’t have tater tots, now would we?
The more I thought about the secret sex lives of potatoes, the more I came to realize that a boost in federal funding is long overdue.
It must be difficult for potatoes to breed, with all those eyes on them, all the time.
Potatoes also take a long time to warm up, too, although I’ve heard wrapping them in tinfoil helps.
Other vegetables don’t have the intimacy issues that potatoes have. Artichokes are quite amorous, it’s been said, and radishes can be downright frisky.
Other vegetables, however, show no interest in reproductive matters. Celery, for example, can be as cool as a cucumber.
And consider the mango.
Like their name implies, mangos have trouble with commitment and are typically uncommunicative.
Still, potatoes are probably near the top when it comes to the mysteries of vegetable breeding.
Most of the scientific work done to date has been devoted to getting couch potatoes to go forth and multiply. Sure, there’s been controversy, with some critics wondering why America’s supply of couch potatoes need to be increased at all, and others questioning the methods employed by the scientific community.
Previous efforts to spark an increase in potato breeding, for instance, have included playing Barry White’s “Just Another Way to Say I Love You” over a candlelit dinner with wine, or having couch potatoes watch multiple episodes of “A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila.”
Past research efforts haven’t really borne fruit, which — by all accounts — would have been a pretty major breakthrough.
Still, I’m convinced we should put more money on our potatoes. Plus some sour cream and some chives, if they’re handy.
Next issue: All is forgiven.