Facebook Pixel

January 24, 2008

2008: The Year of the Potato

Thirteen Things about Potatoes

Last weekend when I visited the Botanic Gardens I discovered 2008 is the year of the potato. You learn something every day. :grin: So, in honor of the humble potato:

1. Potatoes were first “domesticated” or cultivated in the Andes thousands of years ago. They had hundreds of varieties including a frost-resistant one.

2. The potato derived its name from the American Indian word “Batata”. It was introduced to Europeans by Spanish conquerors in the late 16th Century.

3. Potatoes were not initially accepted in Europe. Some people thought they caused disease.

4. In 1845 and 1846 the potato crop in Ireland was devastated by fungus. The potato had become a major food to the Irish causing the “Irish Potato Famine” which caused many Irish to immigrate. The population of Ireland decreased by nearly two million between 1847 and 1851.

5. The potato is the second most popular food in America, beaten only by milk products.

6. The average American eats over 120 pounds of potato a year.

7. One Medium Potato (150 grams or about 1/3 pound) contains 110 Calories, 3 grams of protein, 23 grams of carbohydrate, 0 grams of fat, 2710 mg of fibre, 10 mg of sodium and 750 mg of potassium.

8. A potato contains 80% water.

9. Potatoes are related to the tobacco and tomato families.

10. Antoine-Auguste Parmentier was a 18th century agronomist who convinced the common French people to accept the potato as a safe food. (They thought it caused leprosy.) He used reverse psychology by posting guards around potato fields during the day to prevent people from stealing them. He left them unguarded at night. So, every night, the thieves would sneak into the fields to steal potatoes.

11. Mr. Potato Head was born in 1952 and was also the first toy to be advertised on television.

12. Instant mashed potatoes (dehydrated potatoes) were introduced commercially in 1955.

13. Marie Antoinette wife of Louis XV was known to wear potato blossoms as a hair decoration.

And a final one – my favorite way to eat a potato is baked in its jacket, served with Greek yogurt and ground black pepper. Hey, I’m on a cutback so I will fit my clothes for Nationals, otherwise I might have said sour cream and butter!! What is your favorite way to eat potatoes?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
View More Thursday Thirteen Participants


  1. pussreboots

    I had no idea this was the year of the potato. Who decided that? Happy TT.

  2. Christina Phillips

    I didn’t know it was the Year of the Spud either – whatever next?!

    I absolutely love roast potatoes…covered in lots of salt. Just thinking of it is making me drool!

  3. Gina Ardito

    I can see Denise Austin dancing in her leotard now. :grin: I’m gonna be trying your potato recipe. I use no-fat sour cream and a teeny sprinkle of low fat cheddar cheese. Yum!

  4. Jennifer Shirk

    Mmm. I love to eat my baked potato with lots of sour cream and salt and a little bacon bits–or plenty of Smart Balance and salt. :mrgreen:

  5. Adelle Laudan

    Who knew, lol I love potato pancakes. I haven’t made them in ages. Great list. Happy T13!

  6. AJ

    Interesting. I do love me some potatoes.

  7. Jennifer McKenzie

    Potatoes are related to the tobacco and tomato families

    I had no idea!!!

    I can have two potatoes a week. And when I do, I have all the fixings. Usually just butter but sometimes sour cream. I’m not supposed to have them all the time.

  8. Wylie

    My fave way to eat a potato is cut into thin strips, deep fried and served in a red carton with a golden ‘M’ on the box.
    I’m so bad :evil:

    Very interesting TT, Shelley! I always thought potatoes came from Europe.
    I’m ready for you Alex Trebek… I’ll take Potatoes for $1000.

  9. On a limb with Claudia

    I do love potatoes. I hadn’t had one in about 5 years – but the vet put our dog on them. Yummy.

    Amazing to see what an integrated part of life potatoes were….

    Happy TT!

  10. Kaige

    Great list of trivia, Shelley! I know what we’re having for dinner tonight. I had to laugh at the guy posting guard around the fields to get people to steal them. Too funny.

  11. Amy Ruttan

    Mmmm I love instant potatoes … I think it’s a Canadian thing.

    My favorite baked potatoe is cheese and broccoli. YUMMMY. I too am on a diet for Nationals. :mrgreen:

  12. Lillian Feisty

    Potato blossom! I don’t think I’ve ever seen one

    Awesome Thursday 13, Shelley!

  13. Alice Audrey

    This is weird. Yours is the 13th blog I have visited today, and the third in a row that had 13 comments before I got there.

  14. Shelley Munro

    Oooh, spooky Alice :evil:

    Wylie – I love McD’s fries. I worked for them for ages. You know the skinny cut fries are really bad for you because they absorb more fat than the thick ones?

    Feisty – I don’t think potato blossom is something I’d wear but I guess it was like sportsmen endorsing products these days.

    Kaige – I loved the story about the man guarding his potato fields, too. Such a great strategy.

  15. Susan Helene Gottfried

    Don’t hate me, but potatoes are NOT my favorite food. I could even pass on most French fries!

  16. Lisa Andel

    My absolute favorite way to eat them is as potato skins, with cheese, bacon bits and sour cream.

  17. Heather

    Year of the Potato…sounds like an Idaho conspiracy to me. ;)

    I love creamy mashed potatoes (real, not the instant kind), and baked with either chili and chese or broccoli and cheese.

  18. Gwen Mitchell

    Wow, those are some interesting factoids – especially the fact that it wasn’t introduced into Europe until then! Thanks for the info. As for potatoes… I don’t think I ever met one I didn’t like. :cool: ~Gwen

  19. Estella

    I love fried potatoes! I know fired food is not good for you but I have them anyway.