The Mighty Potato!
of VinylCheese, we believe that you, like ourselves, hold a few
truths to be self-evident. That potatoes are the the foodstuff of
the Gods. So, in honor of the vastly misunderstood potato we present
you with more information and quotes about potatoes than you even
the hens are a-laying eggs, and the roosters pluck-pluck-put-akut
and you—honey—put new potatoes and gravy on the table, and there
ain’t too much rain or too little: Say, why do I feel so gabby?
Why do I want to holler all over the place?
Carl Sandburg, Potato
Blossom Songs and Jigs)
potato or white potato, common name for a perennial plant (Solanum
tuberosum) of the family Solanaceae (nightshade family) and for
its swollen underground stem, a tuber, which is one of the most
widely used vegetables in Western temperate climates. The plant
is probably native to the Andes, where it was cultivated by the
Incas. In pre-Columbian times its culture spread widely among Native
Americans, for whom it was a staple food. Its history is difficult
to trace, partly because the name potato was also used by early
writers for the sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) and for other unrelated
plants. Spanish explorers are believed to have brought it in the
16th cent. from Peru to Spain, whence it spread N and W throughout
Europe. It was brought to North America by European settlers probably
c.1600; thus, like the closely related tomato, it is a reintroduced
food plant in the New World. The potato was first accepted as a
large-scale crop in the British Isles. It became the major food
in Ireland during the 18th cent. and is hence often called Irish
potato to distinguish it from the sweet potato. Ireland was so dependent
on the potato that the failure (resulting from blight) of the 1845–46
crop caused a famine resulting in widespread disease, death, and
emigration. The potato was also important to the course of history
in the 20th cent. in Europe, especially in Germany, where it kept
the country alive during two world wars. With its high carbohydrate
content, the potato is today a primary food of Western peoples,
as well as a source of starch, flour, alcohol, dextrin, and fodder
(chiefly in Europe, where more is used for this purpose than for
human consumption). It grows best in a cool, moist climate; in the
United States mostly in Maine and Idaho. Germany, Russia, and Poland
are the greatest potato-producing countries of Europe. Potatoes
are usually propagated by planting pieces of the tubers that bear
two or three “eyes,” the buds of the underground stems. The plant
is sensitive to frost, is subject to certain fungus and virus diseases
(e.g., mosaic, wilt, and blight), and is attacked by several insect
pests, especially the potato beetle. Nutritionally, the potato is
high in carbohydrates and a good source of protein, vitamin C, the
B vitamins, potassium, phosphorus, and iron. Most of the minerals
and protein are concentrated in a thin layer beneath the skin, and
the skin itself is a source of food fiber; health authorities therefore
recommend cooking and eating it unpeeled. Potatoes are classified
in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Polemoniales,
SYLLABICATION: prairie potato NOUN : See breadroot.
SYLLABICATION: swamp potato NOUN : Botany Arrowhead.
SYLLABICATION: sweet potato NOUN : 1. a. A tropical American vine
(Ipomoea batatas) having rose-violet or pale pink, funnel-shaped
flowers, and cultivated for its fleshy tuberous orange root. b.
The root of this vine, eaten cooked as a vegetable. Also called
yam . Informal An ocarina.
SYLLABICATION: hot potato NOUN : Informal A problem that is so controversial
or sensitive that those handling it risk unpleasant consequences:
“gun control—a political hot potato.”
SYLLABICATION: air potato PRONUNCIATION: âr´p-t´´t NOUN : A tropical
Old World yam (Dioscorea bulbifera) having axillary potatolike tubers,
some of which are edible after cooking. It is a weed in the tropics
and Florida. Also called aerial yam , potato yam .
SYLLABICATION: couch potato NOUN : Slang A person who spends much
time sitting or lying down, usually watching television.
SYLLABICATION: white potato NOUN : The edible tuber of the common
SYLLABICATION: potato chip NOUN : A thin slice of potato fried in
deep fat until crisp and then usually seasoned. Often used in the
SYLLABICATION: potato skin NOUN : An appetizer made of a piece of
baked potato skin spread with a topping and broiled or baked. Often
used in the plural.
information about the make-up of the potato from Fanny Farmer
QUOTATION: Found a little patched-up inn in the village of Bulson….
Proprietor had nothing but potatoes; but what a feast he laid before
me. Served them in five different courses—potato soup, potato fricassee,
potatoes creamed, potato salad and finished with potato pie. It
may be because I had not eaten for 36 hours, but that meal seems
about the best I ever had.
ATTRIBUTION: Diary notes from World War I, Life 24 Jan 64
E Thomas Hughes, founder, Potato Museum, Washington DC
QUOTATION: We’re serious but not solemn about potatoes here. The
potato has lots of eyes, but no mouth. That’s where I come in.
ATTRIBUTION: Christian Science Monitor 7 Jul 86
Henry S F Cooper
QUOTATION: A man who thinks too much about his ancestors is like
a potato—the best part of him is underground.
ATTRIBUTION: Recalled on his death 10 Sep 84
QUOTATION: In a world where the time it takes to travel (supersonic)
or to bake a potato (microwave) or to process a million calculations
(microchip) shrinks inexorably, only three things have remained
constant and unrushed: the nine months it takes to have a baby,
the nine months it takes to untangle a credit card dispute and the
nine months it takes to publish a hardcover book.
ATTRIBUTION: “Hot Leads and Lead Time” Savvy May 80
QUOTATION: You say potato, I say fuck you!
ATTRIBUTION: email, May 3, 2001