This is Chris Voigt. He is the Executive Director of the Washington State Potato Commission. And for reasons that aren't completely clear (something to do with proving the nutritional awesomeness of the potato, though I don't think anyone was really disputing it), he has decided to
Hi, I'm Chris Voigt and these are my potatoes! pull a stunt try an experiment: eating 20 potatoes a day for 60 straight days.
He is currently on day #27.
What the world is waiting for now is for him to completely lose his mind.
Voigt started on October 1 and will finish his all-potato diet on November 29. Here's how he described it at the start, from the front page of his website, 20potatoesaday.com:
"I'm the Executive Director of the Washington State Potato Commission. In an effort to remind the public about the nutritional value of potatoes, I am going on a diet consisting of ONLY POTATOES, nothing else. No toppings, no chili, no sour cream, no cheese, no gravy, just potatoes and maybe some seasonings or herbs and a little oil for some of the cooking. I will be on this "potato only" diet for 60 days straight, starting October 1st and ending November 29th. I want to show the world that the potato is so healthy, that you could live off them alone for an extended period of time, without any negative impact to your health. And who knows, maybe it will make me healthier by lowering my blood pressure and cholesterol?"
And here's how he sounds now, taken right from his blog:
"So I just got back from my first trip away from home while on this diet. I drove to Spokane Sunday night and caught an early flight to Boise the next day. Must remember to prepare better. Nearly starved. I broke into a small emergency stash of instant potatoes I had with me for breakfast, had 3 small bags of chips and 1 baked potato for lunch, and an order of fries at McD's for dinner."
"OK, now I only have to eat 3 more pounds of potatoes before bed. Just consumed a pound of yellow potatoes I baked in the microwave. And if anyone is looking for the two packets of Taco Bell hot sauce that we're left in the break room...they've been consumed."
Halfway through his 60 days and the posts are beginning to take on a kind of vaguely surreal edge, as though he were writing home from the depths of Conrad's jungle or Kipling's Afghanistan. There is something haunting in his fixation. His posts are brief, occasionally include recipes, and are always about potatoes.
Always. Without fail. Eating potatoes, thinking about potatoes, preparing potatoes, counting potatoes. Every day, Voigt is staring down another 20 potatoes. Every day (or almost every day) he writes about them.
"10/26/2010 So it was my son's 9th birthday today. My little spud! . So he wanted Thai food for a birthday dinner with the extended family. Guess what...no potatoes on the menu! They gave me a 1/2 oz bag of chips. That's all they had. And the best part? The chips expired back in August."
And okay, maybe that's not everywhere, but it's more press than the Executive Director of the Washington State Potato Commission probably normally gets. And I swear, the further Voigt goes down this particular dietary rabbit hole, the more fascinating I find the blog. At the beginning, when he first started, I figured he'd last a week, maybe two, before going bonkers and taking a bite out of a stranger on the bus. I didn't report on it back when he started because it seemed doomed to a quick and quiet failure.
But now? Even if only for the daily updates, I kinda hope that Voigt goes the distance. And when he finishes, I'd be happy to be the first one to buy him a congratulatory drink.
Vodka, of course.