The potato isn’t just an afterthought of what to serve with roast beef! Thankfully, however, the humble potato is getting recognition for the magnificent role it has played in the history of civilization.
The Humble Beginnings
Slicing their way through the jungles of South America, Spanish explorers came to the Andes Mountains, the longest mountain range in the world.
It was there that these explorers ‘discovered’ an ancient food that was new to them! However, it had been cultivated among the Incas since 8,000 BC in what is now modern-day Peru.
The Incas dug this food from the earth. It even became a vital part of the Inca Indians’ nutrition!
What food was this? It was the potato!
The Rise of Western Civilization
After conquering the Inca Empire, the Spanish explorers returned home in ships loaded with this mysterious new vegetable.
At first, Europeans resisted adopting this culinary find because they thought it might be poisonous.
Like anything new, it took time to get used to it.
Eventually, the potato became a mainstay of supper tables across Europe.
The humble spud is credited with the population growth and the overall health of Europe.
Some historians even credit the potato with the rise of Western civilization.
Potatoes, rich with vitamins and minerals, helped end many of the frequent famines in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Also, potatoes pack a powerful health punch. Loaded with starch, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, these earthy vegetables are full of potassium and B vitamins.
One medium-sized potato has just 110 calories and nearly half your daily value of Vitamin C.
The Potato In North America
The British governor of the Bahamas gifted the American colonies with a box of potatoes, and, well, the rest is history!
From the tables of royalty to the tables of peasants, it is the potato which has graced our tables and filled our bellies with goodness.
Where would we be without our fries and chips, au gratins and boiled, mashed and baked potatoes? What would a Shepherd’s pie be like without its creamy blanket? Or breakfast without hash browns?
Make the humble potato a part of your meal time.