Potatoes have long been in the midst of controversy.
Ireland was devastated by a potato famine in the 19th century.
Large quantities of deep-fried potatoes have been known to give people intense heartburn and clogged arteries.
And the most important controversy is that of the destructive tendencies of the infamous couch potato.
Couch potatoes have been proven to be less-productive than mold and financial drains on family members and society in general.
Couch potatoes are the number one contributors to high electricity bills and empty refrigerators.
The life expectancy of a couch potato is substantially shorter than that of a couch zucchini.
I must admit, and I'm not proud, I am the definitive couch potato.
I love the couch at my apartment, and it has begun to develop a certain affinity for me.
It's an 11th generation couch that my roommate inherited from his family.
It has seen spaghetti sauce, wet dogs and severe derri`ere indentations, but is still going strong.
And, just a tad off subject, if you are a couch potato and eat potato products, would you be classified as a cannibal?
Potatoes, whether they intended to or not, have made themselves the pariahs of the western world, despite the sexy advertisements those clever marketing kids have taunted us with over the years.
On the other hand, potatoes are the quintessential produce of the American people.
We have Mr. Potato Head and wife, Hot Potato, potato sack races, and what would the Hamburglar be without his french fry henchmen?
According to Idaho Potatoes official Web site, potatoes are a good source of Vitamin B6 and Dietary Fiber. We all need fiber ...
Potatoes can be au gratin, twice-baked, smashed, mashed, million-dollared, loaded, corroded, baked, fried and boiled.
And, if it strikes your fancy, they can be eaten raw.
I'm a potato home-grown on my couch. There's no shame in slothfulness.
Embrace the potato within.

- Rosemary Nottoli is a potato in journalism. She can be reached at rnottoli@utk.edu.