National Trust Books (2011)
This a surprising little book! In just 95 pages you can become a knowledgeable potato aficionado.
The book is divided into seven sections that cover from the history of potatoes and their journey from the Andes to Europe and the rest of the Americas; how to grow potatoes; potato varieties; recipes and a list of the National Trust Kitchen Gardens.
Potatoes have been around in the South American diet since about 45000 BC and after the conquest of New Spain, the Spanish sailed south to conquer South America in 1537 where they met potatoes, and by 1576 potatoes were already a favourite crop in Spain.
English pirates as the clever devils they were, raided many Spanish ships and got their hands on some potatoes in 1563, Sir Walter Raleigh used to offer them in banquets.
One of my favourite discoveries was the fact that it was regarded as “food of the Devil” hence cooks had to “boil the devil out of them” and there was no mention of them in the Bible. Their curvy shapes seemed questionably seductive…. Shocking.
During Victorian times many varieties were created and since England has pretty much the same soil conditions as the Andes’ Fifty varieties are mentioned and described, of which I didn’t know at least 45 of them.
The recipe section covers the staple methods such as boiling, mashing, and frying. But they also have some interesting historical recipes.
Good, concise book for the potato lover and kitchen gardener.