Potatoes of Neopia
“Why do we have a potato gallery, Ciaxie?” I heard my youngest pet, Celebrianie,
asking her big sister.
To my embarrassment, my Ixi replied, “Because Mani likes potatoes.”
“Hey!” I cried indignantly. “You like them too!”
“Why?” questioned my curious little Peophin. “Why does everyone like potatoes
I thought it was a good point. People travel from all corners of Neopia to
visit Meri Acres Farm, simply to see how quickly they can count potatoes. It’s
so popular that there’s even an Extreme Potato Counter.
“Potatoes are very useful, Celebrianie,” I answered after some thought. It’s
true actually. I mean, apart from being counted, they can be:
8. Stuffed with rice and other vegetables
9. Stuffed into a pepper
10. Made into potato wedges
11. Made into crisps
13. Coated (with sugar)
14. Eaten raw
15. Eaten with turkey
16. Dipped in sauce
17. Put into a pie
18. Used as a pizza topping
19. Blended with olives to make an Olivetato
24. Used as battledome equipment
25. Made into soup
26. Grown in your garden
27. Dipped in paint and used for printing
28. Hung in a gallery
29. Sold for good money
“Potatoes all come from Meridell,” Ciaxie proudly informed us.
“Yeah, because no-one had ever heard of them before it was discovered,” my
Aisha replied sarcastically.
I thought this was a good point as well. Everyone associates potatoes with
Meridell, but even before Meridell was discovered, there were potatoes. I decided
to take this further and took Ciaxie with me to the main food shop in Neopia
We couldn’t see the shopkeeper at first, but once we’d pushed our way through
the crowd and found him, he was too busy shouting prices at hagglers to notice
my poor Ixi trying to ask him questions on potatoes. Meanwhile, I decided to
look and see if there were any potatoey items on the shelves.
The only items I found were a cheese tortilla and some fajita chips, so I waited
until all the items had sold out and then asked to interview him. He was actually
quite happy to do it, but looked a bit puzzled when I mentioned potatoes.
Me: How long have you been selling potatoes for?
Food Shopkeeper: I’m sorry, I don’t sell raw potatoes.
Ciaxie: Do you sell any potatoes?
Food Shopkeeper: Yes, I sell cheesy mashed potatoes, plain mashed potatoes,
baked apple jacket potatoes….
Me: Where do you get them from?
Food Shopkeeper: From Meridell of course! Delivered within twelve hours!
Me: Where did you get them from before Meridell was discovered?
Food Shopkeeper: I only sold potato wedges before then!
Ciaxie: Where did you get the potato wedges from???
Food Shopkeeper: From a factory of course! Oooh look, my food has come! Got
to restock now…bye!
We had just completely wasted a whole hour, but Ciaxie was not ready to give
up. So my Ixi dragged me along to her home country – Meridell. We began to walk
towards Meri Acres before I noticed Meridell’s most popular food shop, Merifoods.
We entered the shop holding our noses. The stifling stench of stale meat and
rotten tomatoes almost made me throw up on what looked like…potatoes! Real raw
potatoes! I looked closer at the description, which was pasted to the side of
the wooden crate.
“It can be eaten, thrown, or erm…well a potato doesn’t have that many uses…”
As you can imagine, I was outraged. I had just made a list of twenty-nine ways
to use a potato and someone had the nerve to declare that the most incredible
vegetable ever “doesn’t have that many uses!”
I was more than ready to have a word with the shopkeeper at that point. I stormed
up to the counter and confronted the meerca about disrespecting high-quality,
“Erm…we don’t write the description, miss,” he stuttered. “They’re NFS – Neopian
Food Society – standard labels.”
Before I could say anything else, Ciaxie grabbed my arm, lead me outside and
then went back in. I was so relieved to get away from the smell; I stayed there
until she came back a few minutes later.
“What did you find out?”
“She buys her potatoes from Meri Acres,” Ciaxie said. “Let’s go there,”
So we went off to jolly old Meri Acres farm. Alton the Kacheek was sitting
happily at his potato counter, waiting for customers when we met him. He was
a bit disappointed that we didn’t want to count his potatoes but he agreed to
Me: Um…how long have you been counting potatoes?
Alton: I’ve been counting potatoes since I was very little. As soon as I learnt
how to count, in fact! My Ma used to let me count them all before we cooked
them for dinner every night and my uncle and aunty always gave a bag of them
to me on my birthday. Most of the other kids thought I was odd but at least
I had my potatoes! And as soon as I left school, I got out my birthday potatoes…
Ciaxie: …Okay! Moving on…why do you think potatoes are so popular in Meridell?
Alton: Oh! Potatoes are so much fun! Last week I counted fifty-three potatoes
in twenty-four seconds! That’s my highest score ever. And the other week, I
went to my uncle’s potato farm and watched one being grown!
Me: Fascinating. Now where do you get all those potatoes from?
Alton: Mostly my uncle’s farm. But I collected lots of them when I was a young
lad. You can re-use them you know. Some of them are nearly five years old!
Me: That’s…nice. Where do you get all the money to keep it running?
Alton: The Meridell Potato Company sponsors me because the potato counter is
such a huge tourist attraction. They buy potatoes from the local farmers and
sell them to other parts of Neopia.
Me: They sell them to OTHER PARTS OF NEOPIA! Did you hear that, Ciaxie?
Ciaxie: Yes. I heard it. Let’s go now.
We thanked Alton and set off again. I was in a really good mood. Even though
I still didn’t know where potatoes came from before Meridell, I knew where they
came from now! The Meridell Potato Company! I made a mental note to invest in
them someday. However, Ciaxie didn’t seem so cheerful.
“You know what I’m going to do as soon as I get home?” she grumbled. “I’m going
to strangle that stupid Aisha for giving you ridiculous ideas!”
“You wanted to find out some stuff too!” I argued. “And Silciaqua isn’t stupid
– she came up with a question that no-one can answer!”
To this day, that same question is still on my mind. So, if anyone knows where
potatoes came from before Meridell was discovered, please let me know.