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Huckleberries Online

Mon., Jan. 13, 2014, 2 p.m.

Idaho potatoes in Paris

 At peace talks in Paris today, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with a pair of hefty Idaho potatoes, prompting an oddly festive moment of diplomacy during otherwise grim talks. Kerry quickly sought to disavow any deep diplomatic meaning from the spuds, the AP reported, explaining that he was in Idaho over the holidays when he and Lavrov spoke by phone. The Russian, it seemed, associated Idaho with potatoes. “He told me he's not going to make vodka. He's going to eat them,” Kerry said of Lavrov, who was next to him at an otherwise somber news conference on militant threats to humanitarian aid for Syria.

Kerry added: “I really want to clarify: There's no hidden meaning. There's no metaphor. There's no symbolic anything. … He recalled the Idaho potatoes as being something that he knew of, so I thought I would surprise him and bring him some good Idaho potatoes.” Read more.

Um. Is there a hidden meaning or some kind of symbolism inferred when giving or receiving potatoes?

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Cindy Hval
Cindy Hval is a freelance columnist for the Voices neighborhood sections. Her Front Porch column appears twice a month in the Thursday Voice.