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Potato: A Global History

By Andrew F. Smith



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Author Andrew F. Smith
Binding Hardback
Date published April 2011
Number of pages 176
Publisher Reaktion Books
ISBN / Item No. 9781861897992


From its obscure Pre-Columbian beginnings in South America to its global popularity today, the story of the potato is one of rags to riches.

In Potato, esteemed culinary historian Andrew F. Smith reveals the captivating story of a once lowly vegetable that has changed - and continues to change - the world.

First domesticated by prehistoric people in the Andes, the potato has since been adopted by cultures all over the globe. After its discovery by Europeans, goverments and monarchs encouraged the people to farm it because it was so nutritious and easy to grow, but its new position as the staple of the poor meant mass starvation in nineteenth-century Ireland when potato blight wiped out the crops.

The potato was also adopted by cooks in India and in China, which is now the world's largest potato producer.

Despite its popularity, in this era of both fast food and health consciousness, the potato is now suffering negative publicity for the very quality for which it was lauded by our forefathers: being a good source of carbohydrate. But is it fair to blame the humble spud for our habit of covering it with butter or sour cream or deep-frying it in oil?

Potato is a captivating account of the history, economy, politics and gastronomy behind this beloved tuber. Like a well-dressed baked potato, this book will both comfort and satisfy the reader.

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