Potatoes: Research Essay
Every family get-together has some sort of food that becomes a must-have to complete the spread on the dinner table, and for my family, this just happens to be potatoes. Whether it is mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, or french fries, the vegetable always finds its way to each family gathering. My grandmother had a large part to do with this. Because my grandparents own a garden, it is a very easy task to just run into their very big, luscious garden to grab the vegetable. After the peeling, the boiling, the mashing, or the baking, my grandmother would always let me be the taste tester, since she knows I am a picky eater. This process is one of my fondest childhood memories, which makes this food so close to my heart. Potatoes are incredibly common in my own life, as they are in other families as well. Because of the easy growth and many different ways to prepare them, potatoes have a widespread popularity around the world. The vegetable is used and prepared differently in each culture, and its versatility makes it a culinary staple throughout the world.
Since potatoes have been used for such a long time, they have impacted many different cultures in a positive way. According to Food in History, written by Reay Tannahill, potatoes were a large part of the survival of American inhabitants near 7000 BC (24). The weather around the world was making it hard to secure meat and other foods, so since the potato is so versatile, it was able to be used, regardless of the temperature of the region. Another clue on the vegetable’s
origin was within the Inca Indian community, “perhaps as early as 3000 B.C and almost certainly earlier than 2000 B.C,” according to William Mcneil’s, How the Potato Changed World’s History. However, it is nearly impossible to know where the food first originated from. Although no one is exactly sure where they came from, it is obvious that they spread vastly and all around the globe. Christopher Columbus’ expedition is one that is said to have increased the spread of the vegetable after coming across it in Spain of 1492, the Oxford English Dictionary states. The spread ventured through European countries and eventually made its way to the United States. It is difficult to positively talk about the potato and its whereabouts from so long ago, but there is evidence supporting these theories.
Because of almost only the need for fertile soil and sunlight, potatoes are an easy and often planted crop, making it easy to use in every country. This is what makes potatoes such a staple crop, because they can be planted in almost any climate. The fact that climate difference made no little to no effect on the growth of potatoes, influenced trade a great deal. By the 1580s, countries such as Germany, Switzerland, and France were producing potatoes, according to Potato: A Global History. This was because countries surrounding Germany went to war, and used other countries armies to transport...