Today is National Potato Day. Potatoes originated in the Andes mountains of Peru and Bolivia, and were domesticated about 10,000 years ago. They are now a staple food in most of the world, and the world's fourth-largest food crop (behind corn, wheat, and rice). Today, we honor the potato's place in history, and in our meals.
|In Potato: A Global History, Andrew F. Smith tells the story of the potato and its role in global history, economics, and cuisine. From its South American origins, the potato was introduced to Europe in the 16th century, and has now spread around the world. More than one-third of the world's potato crop is now grown in China and India. Potato: A Global History is available as an e-audio at OverDrive.|
|One of the most significant historical events involving the potato is the Great Irish Famine of 1845-1852. The potato had become a staple food in Ireland, particularly among the poor. Virtually all of the potatoes grown in Ireland were of one variety, so when disease hit, it devastate the nation's potato crop. A million people died during the famine, and another million emigrated from Ireland, resulting in a more than 20% reduction in the country's population. John Kelly tells the story of the Great Famine in The Graves Are Walking, available as an e-book at OverDrive, or in print.|
|We can't celebrate the potato without a cookbook, and Raghavan Iyer's Smashed, Mashed, Boiled, and Baked -- and Fried, Too! offers more than 70 recipes. From the traditional french fries and pierogies to international dishes like West African Sweet Potato Soup and Potato-Stuffed Chile Rellenos, you'll find a variety of ways to enjoy the potato. Smashed, Mashed, Boiled, and Baked -- and Fried, Too! is available as an e-book at OverDrive, or in print.|