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Origin and history of the potato

Gastronomy tips

Origin and history of the potato

The potato is currently one of the most popular foods in the world. However, before the discovery of America nobody knew it existed apart from the civilizations that lived in Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Colombia. They were the first growers of this product that is essential for global food today.

Several studies claim that the origin of the potato was in the Andes. Between the years 8,000 and 5,000 BC, the civilizations of these regions were the first to grow this food that emerged from under the earth. Partly thanks to the potato, the Incas founded one of the largest and most powerful states on the continent. For this reason, the potato attracted a lot of attention from the Spanish conquerors who arrived there around 1531.

Despite this, due to religious beliefs, neither the conquerors nor the rest of European civilization wanted to consume potatoes at first. They believed that something that grew so quickly under the earth had to be the work of the devil or it was bewitched.

Thus, several centuries passed until the potato was accepted by Western society. This was thanks to the French nutritionist Antoine Auguste Parmentier. Convinced that it was good for human consumption, Parmentier managed to make it fashionable among the richest classes by organizing parties in which only dishes made with potatoes were served.

Some countries like Ireland welcomed the product with open arms. Others, like Spain, took a little longer. That's why the potato omelet, the iconic recipe of Spanish gastronomy, was not invented until 1798.

In the case of United States, it started to be grown in the year 1719. Today, the United States is the fourth largest producer of potatoes and Americans consume about 54 kilos per person per year.


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