Don’t believe what you read
Do you believe what you read?
No, I don’t believe what I read


There are a lot of food myths and urban legends floating around out there. What to believe? Whom can you trust? By God, is anything safe to eat in these troubled times?

The answer is yes. But also no. For example:

I was recently challenged by some family members as to my claim that green potatoes will kill you on sight. This came up during a meal at which I was observed carefully separating the green potato chips from the normal ones. Was I just playing with my food, sorting it out by color? No! Green potatoes (and, thus, their chiply spawn) are poisonous, toxic, deadly killers. No one believed me. “That sounds like an urban legend.” Indeed it does. But I knew I’d read it somewhere, and I vowed to prove that my eschewal of the green chips was not mere fussery.

Green Potatoes

According to my good friend,, a greenish potato contains a natural toxin called solanine, which in large enough quantities can cause

vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, and even paralysis of the central nervous system.

Luckily, by “large quantities,” they mean about 4 and 1/2 pounds in one sitting. I can really only manage about 3 pounds, so even if I accidentally ingest some greenies, I’m probably OK.

And what about green potato chips? Well, the Straight Dope shares this warning from a specialist with the USDA:

While it is unlikely that anyone has ever become seriously ill from eating the small portions of green sometimes found on potato chips or french fries, some tummy aches could probably have been prevented. They definitely are not good for you!

SCORE! Green potatoes are bad. Now let’s dispel some pesky myths about other beloved foods.

Tainted Carrots

Remember regular-sized carrots? I think they still make them. You had to wash them, peel them, slice them. What a nightmare. Thank god for the convenience of the baby carrot, tho now it seems that people are trying to ruin that for us, too. Claim:

Baby carrots are made from deformed full-sized carrots that have been soaked in chlorine.

The perpetrator of this vile rumor suggests smugly that we all “start making our own carrot sticks out of fresh carrots and keep them in the fridge.” Not bloody likely!

And, not to worry. Snopes assures us that “baby-cut” carrots are simply machine-cut from large sweet carrots and then scraped down to that adorable, edible size we all love. So, yes, it’s safe to throw out your vegetable peeler. Baby carrots are here to stay!

We have Snopes to thank for disproving these other food-related urban legends:

  • Mayonnaise in fast food chicken sandwiches is NOT pus from a tumor
  • Bubble Yum chewing gum does NOT contain spider eggs
  • Sadly, the myth that “dropped food remains germ-free if picked up within 5 seconds” is just that
  • Happily, the rumor that eating celery results in negative calories is true
  • My very favorite food-related tidbit: you can tell which day a loaf of bread was baked by the color of its tag.

I hate to rely only on Snopes to clarify food issues, so I’ve come up with a few of my own findings:

  • Blood oranges do not, I repeat, do not contain blood. I wish the makers of blood oranges would’ve come up with a different name. Maybe “rosy red orange” or even “blorange.”
  • Red velvet cake is not make of red velvet. In fact, “red velvet” is not even a flavor. It’s just plain ol’ devil’s food cake with red food coloring. What makes red velvet cake taste so good? The cream cheese frosting!
  • That fake butter you put on popcorn? Turns out it’s actually good for you. Um . . . this may be a lie. But don’t you wish it was true?


They will eat absolutely anything at humor-blogs.

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19 Responses to “I Get to the Bottom of This Green Potato Business”

  1. 1 Kathy

    I always separate my green chips too!! I hated to throw out a perfectly good chip, so now I’m just gonna go ahead and eat it, toxin and all!

    I have heard about the bread tag thing, but realized quickly I’d never remember what color went with one day. So I just squint and try to read the date on the label. Rest assured, I never squeeze the bread!

    Thank you again for clearing things up so I don’t have to! Who needs Google when we have I Do Things?!?

    Kathy’s last blog post..Ask and You Shall Receive

  2. 2 Jeff

    No, Bubble Yum DOES contain spider eggs! It’s true! Somebody sent me an email about it so it HAS to be true.

    Also, I would eat potato chips no matter what color they were. I love them that much.

    Jeff’s last blog post..Techno-raunchy

  3. 3 Lori

    I’ve chopped and fried quite a few green taters in my day…..may explain a few digestional issues the kids and I have had over the years. Had I been smarter, I would have seperated the green taters from the non green and fed those to just the ex hubby. bwahahahhahahahahahahhaha ahhh ahem

    Thanks for dispelling so many rumors. I can now rest easy as I have been a bit squeamish about alot of things and now…I see that they are all just the plot of some fiend with evil plans to take all the ‘good stuff’ away from us.

    Lori’s last blog post..Awards – For others

  4. 4 JD

    Kathy: Yay for toxins! The green ones don’t taste any different, so as long as you don’t eat 4 and 1/2 pounds (in one sitting), I think you’ll be fine.

    I actually carry a Post-It in my wallet with the bread tag info. Even tho I hardly ever buy bread (sniff), I cannot bear to get the least freshest loaf. And I can never read the date.

    And…you’re very welcome!

    Jeff: Wow, you must love your potato chips. As I said to Kathy, the greenies don’t taste any different, but…they’re GREEN! Also, I’ll immediately post a rebuttal on that Bubble Yum rumor. If you got an e-mail, that trumps my Google search.

    Lori: A HA! Yes! Now those stomach-aches are explained. And ladies? I’m not advocating poisoning anyone with green potatoes, but it does seem awfully easy.

    You’re welcome, Lori. Rest assured that those evil rumor-mongers won’t get away with any more of their plans.

    JD’s last blog post..I Get to the Bottom of This Green Potato Business so you don’t have to

  5. 5 Shieldmaiden96

    Also; Irish potatoes are comprised neither of potato nor Irishmen.

    Shieldmaiden96′s last blog post..Stars on 45 and other Random Thoughts

  6. 6 Regan

    I wish that fake butter WAS good for you….

    I can eat a full *pour over butter* bag of popcorn in a day if I wnated to. Which I usually do…

  7. 7 JD

    Shieldmaiden96: Ooh, I’d forgotten about that one! It’s true…and often overlooked. Thanks for adding to the list!

    Regan: Do movie theaters in your area have the self-serve butter spigot at the concession stands? Man, that is the worst (by which I mean the best). You can stand there for an hour, holding your popcorn under the fake butter until the bag is soaked. It’s so gross (and by that I mean delicious!)

    JD’s last blog post..I Get to the Bottom of This Green Potato Business so you don’t have to

  8. 8 kev

    So I’ve been eating blood oranges all these years for nothing??

    kev’s last blog post..Happy Pinch People For No Reason Day!

  9. 9 elasticwaistbandlady

    That’s okay. If you die from eating Green Potatoes, I’ll make a nice Funeral Potato dish for your grieving kinfolk.

    elasticwaistbandlady’s last blog post..This Cake Could Potentially Save Your Life!

  10. 10 elasticwaistbandlady

    Is Devil’s Food Cake made out of real Devil’s or just his food?

    elasticwaistbandlady’s last blog post..This Cake Could Potentially Save Your Life!

  11. 11 elasticwaistbandlady

    With the glory days of the 80′s long behind them, the former top 40 chartbuster group, Soft Cell is now reduced to making agriculture commercials. Maybe you’ve seen them performing ‘Tainted Carrots’ to the tune of ‘Tainted Love?’

    elasticwaistbandlady’s last blog post..This Cake Could Potentially Save Your Life!

  12. 12 JD

    kev: Well, I’d double-check, if I were you. I can’t say for sure that ALL blood oranges are blood-free. Maybe you lucked out and got some of the rare blood-injected blood oranges.

    elasticwaistbandlady: That’s so nice of you. My kinfolk thank you.

    And I believe devil’s food cake is indeed literally the food of the devil, not made of the devil himself. I’d hate to think I’ve been eating devil parts. And I don’t even want to think about angelfood cake.

    HA! I can’t believe you made the same association with “Tainted Carrots” that I did! That’s hilarious. Please send me the lyrics to that song. Poor Soft Cell. They used to be so edgy.

    JD’s last blog post..I’m Finally Wrapping Up this Vocab Contest so you don’t have to

  13. 13 Ernie

    I knew about the solanine in green potatoes and the celery factoid. However, I totally thought mayonaise was pus and I long ago gave up gum and started chewing straight spider eggs.

    Ernie’s last blog post..Shaved Beaver Pics

  14. 14 JD

    Ernie: There must be something to spider eggs that makes them conducive to being added to gum. Are they springy and chewy? Can you blow spider-bubbles? I’ve always wondered…

    JD’s last blog post..I Announce the Winners of the Vocabulary Skillzzz Contest! so you don’t have to

  15. 15 Cindy Lietz, The Polymer Clay Girl

    Always thought those Green potatoes tasted funny… now I know it is solanine… that’s information I can take to the next party I go to!

    Cindy Lietz, The Polymer Clay Girl’s last blog post..Gold Polymer Clay as a Base for Mixing Custom Colors

  16. 16 JD

    Cindy: Do they really taste funny? I swear, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a green potato—now, because I know they are full of deadly poisons, but since I was a kid, I was afraid of them.

    Take the information; just don’t take any green chips!

    JD’s last blog post..I Have a Crush on a Cartoon so you don’t have to

  17. 17 Tracy

    I’ve always avoided green potatoes and the ones that are just slightly tinged with green, I peel deeper.

    I’m not sure why but the potatoes and onions at almost every grocery store in this town suck. That’s what you need to investigate, why the world dumps their inferior potatoes and onions on Memphis.
    .-= Tracy´s last blog ..Halfway Through The Blogathon =-.

  18. 18 redheadranting

    I've never heard the green potato thing (I can't spell potato, it took me three tries). I probably shouldn't have admitted that and in all fairness I had trouble with the word 'probably' too. I've also never heard of the pus in mayo (I'm not even going to try to attempt to spell that word). I do remember the Bubble Yum myth. Did it say anything about taking 7 years to digest if you swallow your gum?

  1. 1 Tweets that mention I Get to the Bottom of This Green Potato Business at I Do Things So You Don’t Have To --


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