Author: Rebecca Earle
Publication Date: March 21, 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Date Started: October 30, 2018
Date Finished: November 6, 2018
*I would like to thank the publisher, author, and NetGalley for providing an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
The humble, the delicious, the magical potato. The potato is so engrained into everyday life of so many cultures, that we hardly give it a passing thought anymore. And yet, it has not only found its way to drive our culinary scene, but has also shaped politics, economies, and culture for several centuries, and has the potential to do so for many more.
Potato provides a primer on each of these aspects in turn, and how the potato has played a role in them all. Most are familiar with the Irish potato famine and its repercussions on the farmers in Ireland and the death and emigration it caused. However, there are so many more levels of potato history to consider. For example, did you know that it was difficult to tax potatoes when they were first introduced to Europe? How about that two separate Nobel Prizes in Literature were awarded to poets who wrote about potatoes? And let’s not forget the photograph of a potato that sold for €1,000,000!
I absolutely love and adore potatoes, and relished the chance to learn its history. I had no idea there was so much to learn about the potato. If I had a complaint, I wish there had been more background and information building up the political importance of potatoes, so that the argument hit a little harder instead of feeling a little thin and disconnected. But the discussion lead to some fascinating thoughts and interpretations of policy, both to encourage independence and the well-being of citizens, and the control of citizens.
My verdict: the potato, better than kale in every way. True story.
Overall, 3.5/5 moose