Become a Q Club Member today and enjoy unlimited entry and other great benefits!
"In front of a potato, we are all equal"
Stanislav Menard, President of the Slovenian
Society for Sautéed Potato & Onions
On Monday 28 January 2013, Questacon's Q Lab celebrated the second annual Potato Day. Amidst the potato batteries, potato stamps, and potato DNA extraction, we asked the question
"What do you call a fried slice of potato from a fish and chip shop?
Potato cake or potato scallop?"
Combined with data from the 2012 Potato Day, the overall statistics show a clear majority of more than two-thirds of visitors in favour of potato scallops. However, further analysis—rather than finding a definitive answer—reveals a nation divided.
Victorians and Tasmanians are unanimous in their support for the potato cake. One Tasmanian said "I had never heard anyone call it a 'potato scallop' before I came to the mainland!" A Victorian visitor claimed "Victorians invented potato cakes!!".
Visitors from Queensland, New South Wales and ACT favour the potato scallop, while the Northern Territory is undecided with even votes either way.
Even internationally, debate raged over potato cake versus scallop. The potato scallop received international support from visitors from Kansas and New Caledonia; a German visitor argued it must be a scallop because "a cake is sweet, isn't it?". Meanwhile, a New Zealander suggested the alternative ‘potato fritter’.
A potential hypothesis is that potato cake v scallop allegiances follow the fictional “Barassi Line”, but is this an instance of causation or correlation? Instead, the potato cake versus scallop debate may never be settled and instead be aligned to the distinction between schooner and the South Australian pint.
Overall, 69% of people surveyed believe a fried slice of potato is called a potato scallop and 31% believe it to be a potato cake. 100% of all Victorians and Tasmanians surveyed believe it is called a potato cake. In Queensland, ACT, and New South Wales, the majority of people surveyed believe it to be a potato scallop with 71%, 81% and 89% respectively. Northern Territorians were equally divided in their opinion of potato cake versus potato scallop.