Potatoes have been dated back to 500 B.C. in ancient Peruvian and Chilean ruins by archaeologists. It is known that the Incas cultivated them at 12,500 feet above sea level in the Andes mountains near lake Titicaca in between Peru and Bolivia. Today there are over 5,000 potato varieties still grown in the Andes today ranging in hundreds of sizes from a small nut to an apple and in color from red and gold to blue and black.
Not only was the potato a food source for the Incas, but it was a way of life for them. Along with growing and eating them they seemed to have actually worshiped the potato as it was their main source of healthy food intake. They not only would simply eat the potato but they would in instances place the potato on broken bone as they believed it would help with healing, carry the potato with them as they believed it would help prevent rheumatism, and eat the potato with other foods to help prevent indigestion to name a few. They potato was a way of life in the great Andes mountain range. The Spanish conquistadors even saw the benefits of the potato as they took back with them as an incredible treasure, the potato (they would have also taken gold or silver but none could be found).
From Spain the potato traveled throughout the rest of Europe arriving in England and Italy around 1585, Belgium and Germany in 1587, Austria about 1588 and France in 1600. There is an Irish legend that has it as a Spanish Armada ship wrecking near the coast of Ireland which cause the potatoes that were being carried aboard to be washed ashore. Finally, potatoes are believed to have made their arrival in the US around 1600.
However, not all believed in the good powers of the potato. For instance, the French accused it of causing leprosy, syphilis, narcosis, early death, sterility and rampant sexuality as well as destroying the soil where it grew.
Today the potato is the fourth largest crop in the world.
“How do you like them potatoes” was written and submitted by:
Suzana Sagy Macario
Support students that have a keen interest in a global education and studying abroad by donating to the MSMF School For School Program (S4S). Any donation – no matter the size – will go a long way to support global education. Please click on the following link and donate. You will be glad you did. http://bit.ly/s4sdonors
For more information access www.msmf.org.
The Michael Scott Mater Foundation is dedicated to providing a Global Education Exchange for all. Simply visit our site to find out how.