NATIONAL POTATO MONTH
This month we salute the terrific tuber, the spud, otherwise known as the potato! September is National Potato Month!
It’s hard to imagine a world without potatoes. Once indigenous to South America, specifically Peru and Bolivia, the potato has become a staple food in much of the world. In fact, it is an integral part of the food supply in many countries. Spuds are grown in all fifty states in the U.S. alone!
In 1784, Thomas Jefferson set voyage on a trip to France with his slave James Heming. Jefferson brought his slave along in hopes he would learn some of the French culinary skills. Upon return to the U.S., Jefferson made Heming prepare one of the many culinary delights learned in France, the French fried potato. The dish was served at Jefferson’s private residence. Despite the fact Heming learned the culinary skill to make French fried potatoes and brought that skill back the U.S., Jefferson is given credit for introducing French fried potatoes. The earliest known recipe for the potato chip appeared in a cookbook published in 1817. The preparation resembled the French fried potato prepared by Heming.
The potato continues to have a vast history after its initial introduction. Most notably, the history of potatoes relates to the Irish potato famine of the 1840s. Sadly, starvation and disease claimed as many as a million lives in Ireland during the famine. It was during this time that nearly 500,000 Irish immigrated to the U.S.
Mash-Up Potato Facts:
- The word “spud” first made an appearance in New Zealand around 1850. Potato planters used spuds, a sharper version of a spade, to dig up potatoes. Technically, it had nothing to the with the potato.
- The world’s largest potato chip was produced by the Pringle Company in 1990. It measures 23′ by 14.5′.
Potatoes have even made an entry into pop culture. Possibly the most famous potato known to man, Mr. Potato Head. A creation from New Yorker George Lerner, the Hasbro Company launched the beloved toy in 1952. Unfortunately, Mr. Potato Head lost his pipe in 1987 mostly due to pressure from anti-smoking groups.
- The “Mashed Potatoes” was a popular dance craze in the early 1960s. Mashed Potato Time was a 1962 chart-topping hit for soul singer Dee Dee Sharp.
Potatoes also have health benefits. For instance, potato skins are a good source of roughage and potassium. The average potato with the skin intact only contains 110 calories. It’s all the stuff you put on it that makes it fattening. As long as toppings are used in moderation, you can enjoy potatoes in all their deliciousness!
HOW TO OBSERVE
Potato dishes can be found in all corners of the world, making it easy to find something that suits your taste buds!
Use #NationalPotatoMonth in social media correspondence.
We were unable to determine the origin of National Potato Month.
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