I first encountered Irish Potatoes when my grandmamma brought me a mysterious box of treats on St. Patrick’s Day. I thought this time she’s clearly lost it, she should be put in a home, this lady brought a child a box of raw potatoes. But I humored her and took a bite, and to my surprise, it was not a potato at all but a cinnamon-covered coconut-ty monstrosity. Grandmamma was sent away not long after but I still wondered where these sugary turds came from and went deep into the archives.
During the Great Potato Famine of 1845, the resourceful people of Ireland had to come up with a new food that looked like potatoes, as that was the only thing their children would eat. Running low on root vegetables, they looked toward the trees—coconut trees, that is. Using their ingenuity, they figured they could mix the meat of the coconut with cream cheese, roll it around in cinnamon, and pawn it off to their kids as the real thing so that they wouldn’t starve. The dummies fell for it and survived long enough to get out of there.
Soon after, the first batch of Irish immigrants would arrive in Philly, bringing along their substitute potatoes in case they weren’t available here either. Unfortunately, they found America to be bountiful in actual potatoes and had to leave the tropical flavors of Ireland behind.
Then in the 1960’s, father of three, Ryan O’Brien found a long-lost family recipe and decided to prank his spiteful kids into thinking they were eating potatoes. However, his plan backfired when his kids welcomed the betrayal, saying they knew it would happen sooner or later. Out of this deception, a company was born, producing what’s now known as Irish Potatoes and the destruction of children’s trust everywhere in the Greater Philadelphia area.
As my grandmamma rots away in the best assisted living facility she deserves, I can’t help but thank her for introducing me to the first of many disappointing meals on which I have built my career. Irish Potatoes can be found and immediately disposed of in Wegmans or anywhere foods that look like other foods are sold.