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  • "The potato needed more than Royal Society support to gain popularity. Rumors arose that its tubers spread leprosy or, more pleasantly, were an aphrodisiac. Its amazing yield recommended potatoes to King Frederick the Great of Prussia, who ordered his people to plant them during the famine of 1744, but it was Antoine-Augustin Parmentier who finally delivered the tuber from suspicion. Forced to eat nothing but potatoes while a Prussian prisoner during the Seven Years' War, he became an advocate of the despised vegetable. When he returned to his vocation as a pharmacist in Paris, Parmentier mounted one of the world's most successful advertising campaigns. He put security guards around his potato plot, then removed them when he thought he had sufficiently intimated their value to potential (and hungry) thieves. He entertained guests with all-potato menus. Thomas Jefferson, then the United States foreign minister to France, supposedly brought back the recipe for French fries, which he served over the next decade at the White House."

    --Joyce Appleby, Shores of Knowledge: New World Discoveries and the Scientific Imagination (New York and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2013), p. 125-126

    December 28, 2016

  • Monsieur Potatohead

    September 28, 2011