The potato is not only essential for our survival and a well-known part of many meals like fish and chips and many combinations you’ll find in McDonald’s or Surf’n’Fries all over the world. Today we’ll check what do we really know about the potato.
#1 It’s old, really old!
Cultivation of potatoes dates back to 10000 years ago. While it’s hard to find the exact date because of lacking any kind of documentation from that time (yes, they were pretty messy with their documents these days 😊 ). Still, some findings points that is true. We have exact archeological findings that for sure can place the cultivation of potato 4500 to 5000 years ago.
#2 It originates from South America
These findings are related to South America and to be more precise to modern-day Peru. For centuries before the white man put his foot on the soil of South America, potato fed Indians in the Andes and was a fuel for the mighty Inca Empire. It’s no wonder that the Incas had a goddess of potatoes.
Copyright© 2006 BH Pošta. All Rights Reserved.
Part of the “Vegetables” series
Denominations: 0,10 BAM
#3 Who “discovered” it?
After white guys “discovered” Americas, they also “discovered” potatoes. As you could expect, these were colonial powers at that time (mid 16th century), so Spain and England got their hands dirty in this one. Sir Francis Drake is also a notable person in the history of “discovering” potato.
#4 The devil’s apples
Potatoes grew underground and we know that nothing good can come from that direction. Wtf, we put our dead there. So yes, some evil forces definitely had their fingers in this weird apples. If you ask the church at that time. Fortunately, that changed along the way. Still, potatoes are not also angels if they turn to the dark side. Well, the light side. Potatoes could become poisonous if they are exposed to light while growing. Potato poisoning could lead to hallucinations, paralysis, coma and even death.
Copyright© 1973 Postverket (Sweden Post 1636 – 1994). All Rights Reserved.
Part of the series “The 100th Anniversary of the Nordic Museum”
Farm couple planting potatoes
Denominations: 75 Öre
#5 Little Ice Age
Nothing makes you eat things you wouldn’t even think of as an absence of “normal” food. This was often the case in human history and that happened once more during the Little Ice Age. There are doubts how long it lasted, but I’ll stick to the version with 3 little ice ages – around 1650, 1770 and 1850. And potatoes grow underground. And nobody wanted them. And they are eatable. So we did them 😊
Copyright© 1997 An Post. All Rights Reserved.
“The 150th Anniversary of the Great Famine in Ireland”
Denominations: 28, 32 & 52 Irish pence
#6 Pop potato
Besides famine, there were also many other ways how to make potatoes more popular. Unfortunately, we lacked Kardashians these days, so we had to stick to people who had real jobs and responsibilities. They were often sent as gifts and flowers were used in the decorations.
And what is the best way to make people do something – just tell them it’s forbidden for them. “In order to popularize potatoes in France, Antoine-Augustin Parmentier placed armed guards around his potato fields, instructing the guards to accept all bribes and allow people to “steal” the crop.” – says Wikipedia
#7 French fries
Well, actually they are not French fries at all. Belgians deep-fried potatoes before 1680 and the often accused French of culinary hegemony over Belgium. In 1802, Thomas Jefferson served potatoes friend in a Franch manner at the Whitehouse dinner. So potatoes came back to the Americas on the red carpet. And fried. In Belgian manner 😊
Copyright© 2000 Canada Post. All Rights Reserved.
Part of the “Millennium Collection” – 17 souvenir sheets with 4 different stamps each
Denominations: 46 cents
#8 You can also use potatoes for…
It’s a nice way to make your silver and shoes shine and you can also use them to remove rust. Besides that, potato juice can be effectively used as a medicine (please perform some additional investigation before blending and drinking it), substitute for plastic, power source, etc.
Copyright© 1999 Royal Mail. All Rights Reserved.
Man peeling Potato (Food Imports) from Millennium Series. The Farmers’ Tale
Denominations: 44 pence
#9 Space Potato
*In October 1995, the potato became the first vegetable to be grown in space. NASA and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, created the technology with the goal of feeding astronauts on long space voyages, and eventually, feeding future space colonies.” (https://idahopotatomuseum.com/potato-facts/ -> Yes, yes, very cool, there is a potato museum in Blackfoot, Idaho, USA.)
#10 Extra Stuff
Potatoes are the world’s fourth food staple – after wheat, corn, and rice. Besides, that potatoes are very healthy and contain almost all nutrients humans need to survive. And potatoes are totally gluten-free. China is the world’s largest potato producer with almost 25% of the world’s total.
We’ll have some more food stamps coming soon, so stay tuned.
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