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BACKGROUND STORIES ABOUT OUR POTATO (1)

2019-03-01

BACKGROUND STORIES ABOUT OUR POTATO (1)

The potato became the most important ingredient in Dutch cuisine in the nineteenth century. The potato was eaten more and more, especially by the poor population as an alternative to bread and porridge. Vincent van Gogh painted his potato-eaters in Nuenen in April 1885. He was inspired by Jozef Israëls, who a few years earlier made a painting of a farmer's family at the table for a simple meal. Vincent van Gogh wanted to show that the farmers had spit up the earth themselves and "that they have earned their food honestly."

Sixty years ago the Dutch ate 130 kilos of potatoes per person per year. Now it is much less, namely about 50 kilos per person per year, excluding fries and chips. We now increasingly eat rice, pasta, pizza and other food. Nevertheless, the potatoes are still in the first place.

The potato (Solanum tuberosum) is a plant that grows underground. A dozen or so potatoes grow at the roots of the plant. The potato plant is family of the tomato and eggplant and belongs to the plant family "Nightshade". Many plants of this family are poisonous, so also the potato plant. The leaves, stems, flowers and berries (which sometimes appair) are poisonous and you really cannot eat them! The tubers, the real potatoes, are of course edible, but they must first be prepared. The potatoes must be kept dark, because if you keep them in the light for too long, the potatoes will get a green colour. Potatoes that have turned green can also not be eaten anymore, they are also poisonous.

Farmer with potatoes

The potato is the most important food crop worldwide after rice, wheat and corn. It is easy food, not expensive, versatile and healthy. The main advantages of the potato:

  • they contain a lot of fiber and little fat.
  • They are full of vitamins (B1, B6 and C) and minerals such as iron and potassium.
  • They contain complex carbohydrates, which means that they are broken down more slowly and therefore leave us feeling fuller for longer.
  • they contain a great deal of water and relatively few calories.

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