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Potatoes – a long way to the table? Adventures of a “migrant” in Europe

December 3, 2021 by Posted in: Lyrics

435 years ago, 3 & nbsp; December 1586 & nbsp; year, Sir Walter Raleigh, sailor, soldier, poet, writer and & nbsp; pirate, and & nbsp; and & nbsp; also & nbsp; favorite of the English Queen Elizabeth & nbsp; I , brought to England an exotic product from the & nbsp; New World & nbsp; & mdash; potatoes.

This is exactly what will be written in & nbsp; countless online “ calendars of memorable dates '', the compilers and & nbsp; editors of which are weakly connected with & nbsp; reality, especially with & nbsp; historical. But the ability to mindlessly rewrite each other's data, not bothering & nbsp; with fact-checking, has been pumped from & nbsp; from the & nbsp; school bench.

The specially gifted will certainly flaunt the “ secret knowledge '' and & nbsp; will notify readers that in & nbsp; Europe, at first, they did not & nbsp; know how to handle & nbsp; potatoes. And & nbsp; therefore, they tried to use in food not & nbsp; “ roots '', but & nbsp; “ tops '', then & nbsp; there are berries. Of course, they were poisoned en masse, since the fruits of the potatoes are poisonous. The & nbsp; force of which for a long time the potato was forgotten, abandoned, and & nbsp; used it only as an ornamental plant, and & nbsp; and & nbsp; then & nbsp; not & nbsp; everywhere. And & nbsp; only by the & nbsp; XVIII century they finally figured out what to do with & nbsp; this “ migrant '' from the & nbsp; New World, how to grow it and & nbsp; how to cook it.

From & nbsp; frequent repetition, these stories acquired the status of historical truth. Although the truth here is not & nbsp; on & nbsp; penny. Moreover & nbsp; & mdash; Such an alignment is generally humiliating, since it portrays Europeans as mere idiots, real cretins who & nbsp; could not adopt an elementary agricultural culture from advanced Indians.

To & nbsp; that & nbsp; in & nbsp; this slender narration somehow missed & nbsp; the kind that in & nbsp; Europe brought not & nbsp; only potatoes, but & nbsp; and & nbsp; tobacco, and & nbsp; corn, and & nbsp; chocolate. There was a real invasion of new cultures, which immediately began to be used for their intended purpose. And & nbsp; news about & nbsp; these new cultures spread a little & nbsp; if not & nbsp; lightning fast. Even in & nbsp; Russia, which was in & nbsp; those & nbsp; times, cut off from & nbsp; all seas except the White, news about & nbsp; “ overseas dishes '' appeared in a timely manner. For example, Metropolitan Macarius , tutor of Tsar Ivan the Terrible , left an interesting entry regarding tobacco and & nbsp; chocolate: “ Krul Gishpansky took under his power the island of Cuba (Cuba) and & nbsp; a great many other different lands. They bring & nbsp; and from there gold, silver, spices, herbs for incense and & nbsp; chukulat walnut, which is rubbed and & nbsp; drunk, mixed with & nbsp; water & raquo ;.

Potatoes, whatever & nbsp; say dropouts and & nbsp; adepts of half-knowledge, from & nbsp; this series of “ migrants '' never dropped out. In & nbsp; Europe they knew exactly what part of the plant should be used in & nbsp; food. Actually, the name itself, potatoes, goes back to & nbsp; Italian tartuffolo, then & nbsp; is a truffle & nbsp; & mdash; potato tubers were found to resemble this underground mushroom. It was in the & nbsp; southern countries of Europe, in & nbsp; Italy and & nbsp; Spain, potatoes and & nbsp; began their victorious march. The first in & nbsp; Europe mention of & nbsp; potatoes, as a & nbsp; food product, and not & nbsp; simple, but & nbsp; dietary, refers to & nbsp; Spain & nbsp; & mdash; in & nbsp; 1573, he is listed among the products purchased for the Blood of Jesus Hospital in & nbsp; Seville.

Photo: www.globallookpress.com/bilwissedition

Which, in & nbsp; principle, is not & nbsp; surprising. Peru is considered the homeland of the potatoes brought to & nbsp; Spain, then & nbsp; that is, it & nbsp; belonged to & nbsp; plants of a “ long day '', and & nbsp; in & nbsp; southern countries ripened quite tolerably well. And & nbsp; here in & nbsp; France, things with & nbsp; were much worse. There are long day potatoes ripened not & nbsp; to & nbsp; the end, and & nbsp; its tubers turned into & nbsp; sour, fetid mass, to & nbsp; that & nbsp; toxic, the use of which was fraught with vomiting, headache and & nbsp; fever, and & nbsp; especially successful & la & nbsp; cases provoked delirium, convulsions and & nbsp; coma. In a word, feed the pigs back and forth, and & nbsp; here are the people & nbsp; & mdash; direct poison. It was the French who disdained potatoes for a long time & nbsp; & mdash; only in & nbsp; 1772 & nbsp; g. The Paris Faculty of Medicine declared potatoes edible.

And & nbsp; how, in & nbsp; then, these potatoes took root in & nbsp; England and & nbsp; in & nbsp; Ireland? They are & nbsp; even farther north than France, and, according to & nbsp; the logic of things, there this culture should have awaited a catastrophic failure. But & nbsp; there was no failure. Opposite & nbsp; & mdash; the development of potatoes there went quite briskly.

The trick in & nbsp; is that a completely different potato was brought to England. True, not by & nbsp; by Sir Walter Raleigh himself, but & nbsp; unlucky colonists who & nbsp; could not get along with & nbsp; Indians in & nbsp; a colony based on & nbsp; the means of the favorite of the queen, and & nbsp; were forced to flee. And & nbsp; it happened not & nbsp; 3 & nbsp; December, but & nbsp; 27 & nbsp; July 1586 & nbsp; year. And & nbsp; delivered them & nbsp; to & nbsp; the ships of the famous pirate Francis Drake … And & nbsp; in & nbsp; everything else is more or less true. Indeed, the colonists from the & nbsp; Roanoke Island, off the coast of the present state of North Carolina, brought with them some local tobacco and & nbsp; potatoes. This potato already belonged to & nbsp; plants of a “ short day '', in & nbsp; the strength of which and & nbsp; took root in the & nbsp; north relatively quickly.

Another thing is that at first they looked at & nbsp; potatoes as a kind of crutch. Researchers call it “the food of lean years.” That & nbsp; is clear that this is food, and & nbsp; not an ornamental plant. It is clear which part should be consumed in & nbsp; food. But & nbsp; doesn’t & nbsp; really want to, except that it will strongly hinder.

Parmentier offers a bouquet of potato flowers to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, engraved in Le Petit Journal, March 1901 Source: Public Domain

By the & nbsp; and & nbsp; same some Europeans in & nbsp; force of inertia of thinking sometimes tried to use it as raw material for baking: “ The earth apple must be cut and & nbsp; dried. By pitching it into & nbsp; flour, you & nbsp; get bread not & nbsp; worse than the master's. At the & nbsp; exit, a tasteless, very dense gray substance was obtained, little resembling bread. No wonder & nbsp; & mdash; solid starch. Agronomists of that time understood this and & nbsp; in the & nbsp; recommendations “ brilliantly '' twisted: “ Such bread is hard to digest, but indigestion does not & nbsp; harm the rough peasant stomachs, on the contrary & nbsp; & mdash; it makes you feel full longer. ''

The eighteenth century is called the “ age of hunger, '' and & nbsp; quite rightly. The population was growing, and the fodder resource base was seriously lagging behind. It was then that the campaign began to & nbsp; popularize potatoes & nbsp; & mdash; in & nbsp; mainly in & nbsp; France and & nbsp; Austria. It was there that & nbsp; began to appear in & nbsp; boutonnieres and & nbsp; on & nbsp; flowers of this plant & nbsp; & mdash; as an additional PR move. In & nbsp; England and & nbsp; Germanic principalities, the need for & nbsp; popularization was not & nbsp; & mdash; potatoes there by & nbsp; by that time had already mastered.

Oddly enough, & nbsp; and & nbsp; in & nbsp; Russia too. To be precise & nbsp; & mdash; not & nbsp; in & nbsp; the whole huge empire, but & nbsp; in & nbsp; some of its & nbsp; parts. But & nbsp; mastered very well. General Jacob Sivers , appointed in & nbsp; 1764 by the Novgorod governor, began to popularize, but & nbsp; suddenly discovered that he was very late with & nbsp; this matter. They loved potatoes there long before & nbsp; “ The Novgorod peasants willingly grow it. They eat & nbsp; either cooked as a special dish, or mix it with & nbsp; cabbage soup, or make a filling for some kind of cakes out of & nbsp; What are the & nbsp; “ cakes '' meant Yakov Efimovich & nbsp; & mdash; not known for certain. Most likely, these were shangi or wickets & nbsp; & mdash; round open pies like cheesecakes. Another thing is important. The northern regions of Russia by & nbsp; by that time were managed with & nbsp; potatoes quite competently. Attempts to make bread out of & nbsp; potatoes, if & nbsp; were undertaken, then & nbsp; remained in the & nbsp; distant past. This product was no longer a gimmick. He & nbsp; firmly entered the & nbsp; local cuisine and & nbsp; enriched the national cuisine. & Nbsp; It should have taken many decades.

The fact that Russia is among the leaders in & nbsp; the development of potatoes should not be surprising. The answer, in general, is simple. The possibility is not excluded that the potatoes came to & nbsp; paradoxically & nbsp; & mdash; from & nbsp; the shores of the White Sea. In the & nbsp; the beginning of the 17th century, trade between Russia and & nbsp; Europe was carried out through the only seaport & nbsp; & mdash; Arkhangelsk. And & nbsp; the main partners of Russian merchants were the British. By that time, they knew perfectly well what potatoes were and & nbsp; succeeded in & nbsp; breeding it.

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