Mont Penis Blanc, France - A recent survey of tubers worldwide has concluded there are considerable regional differences in the length of spuds.
The study was conducted by the German Institute of Stem Research. Dr Willie Limp, chief investigator explained the research.
"It seems there has been keen interest in the swollen region of underground stems or roots since they were first discovered," said Dr Limp. "But there are a lot of myths out there concerning the various shapes and sizes of smooth and knobby tubers. Our research dug deep to sort out truth from wishful thinking."
The latest research findings suggest that French frites are on average 6.2 inches long, the longest in Europe and beating out Greek varieties by 1.18 inches. In comparison, German kartoffel are 5.7 inches in length. British chips, minus a cod piece, measure in at 5.5 inches on average.
Dr Limp pointed out that Asian varieties, like the Daikon radish and sprouts, tend to be considerably smaller, with Indian roots just 4 inches in length and South Korean varieties the smallest at just 3.7 inches on average.
"The Asian varieties are indeed small in comparison, but I have tasted them myself and they have a nice sweet but peppery taste," said Dr Limp, licking his lips. "They are quite decorative in shape and delicious in stir fries."
The German study also included tubers from Africa in their findings. According to an excited Dr Limp, now semi-erect at his desk, African species topped the chart in length.
"We looked at African yams and measured them. The yam tuber has a brown or black skin which resembles the bark of a tree but becomes creamy when cooked or pounded. The yam averages 7 inches in length across Africa but there are certain varieties in Nigeria and Kenya that are reportedly much larger," shared a salivating Dr Limp.
"We also obtained measurements of African cassava, a moist starchy root that can often stay firm and fresh for up to six months at a time without any chemical preservatives. Truly amazing!"
"The cassavas I found in Ghana are slightly smaller than Nigerian yams, but the smell, elasticity and taste of fresh Ghanaian cassava fufu is sure to bring a smile to anyone's face," asserted Dr Limp.
Dr Limp explained that the institute was surprised at their South American findings. "With the sweet potato being native to that region, we expected bigger results. But the Chilean varieties were just 5.5 inches long and the ones from Brazil were even smaller, 4.8 inches."
North America didn't fare any better in the tuber size study.
"With all their cockiness about their potatoes, we thought the Americans would come out close to the top of the chart," said Dr Limp. "But we went right to Idaho, America's potato capital, and the average size of their spuds was just 5.2 inches. Not much to brag about, is it?"
With British chips, French frites, and German kartoffel salad outdistancing American fries in length, the American potato industry is in a quandary. There seems no way to compete with African yams and cassavas, and smaller but tastier exotic Asian tubers are finding their way onto the shopping lists of many American housewives as well.
American potato industry lobbyist, Goldie Russet said a campaign is underway to secure federal funding to significantly enlarge the American potato crop.
"We're going to do whatever it takes to get our American spuds to measure up," proclaimed a confident Ms Russet.
"That will include fertilizing with sildenafil and using tuber implants if necessary. We haven't ruled out genetic hybrids either, and I'm talking directly with President-elect Obama on this topic as I hear Michelle has potatoes on the menu quite often."
Meanwhile the average Frenchman on the street remains smug and scoffs at American plans to enlarge their tubers.
"Haw, haw, haw! We beat them by an inch, and that's both with the potato skins on and off," jeered Pierre Pomme de Terre, dipping his 6.2 inch patate frite into some homemade mayonnaise. "C'est la vie, petite Americaine!"