Did you know that our humble pea originates in the Middle East? Yet again we discover that the ingredients of our favourite meals originate from over seas. Remember years a go if you said to elderly people you had ate a kebab or a pizza? They would probably say:
"I don't know how you can eat all that foreign muck."
Little did they know that the vegetables on their Sunday dinner plate originated in South America (potatoes) and the Middle (Peas..) East.
Time for a good book recommendation : the Potato: Larry Zuckerman. I first came across this potato bible of a book a few years a go in a second hand furniture shop in West Cork. I saw it on a shelf of a Welsh dresser looking at me. The title just grabbed my eyes. It was like it was saying:
"LOOK AT ME."
Any road. Larry Zuckerman says:
"the potato has revolutionized Western civilization as much as the car and the railway - it has been a delicacy, a fast food, and a hedge against famine."
The author takes the reader from the Andes to Dickens London and its' fried fish shops, the Industrial Revolution and even the humble chip shops's beginning in Oldham. The chip shops sprang up to feed the shift workers from the cotton mills. Steam vessels brought back the cod from Iceland and were distributed in land via the railways and canals. I never realised how important the potato was in increasing the population and becoming such an important part of our staple diet.
I have read the book from cover to cover several times and I am always dipping in it for snippets of potato information. If you grow potatoes or just eat them. I think you will enjoy : the Potato.