Mark Yakich

A Brief History of Patriotism

500 B.C.E.

The Incas grow, eat, and worship the potato, and often bury it with
their dead.



1000-1400 C.E.

At some point during the Dark Ages, it is believed that a band of
potatoes makes its way across the Bering Strait, but this remains only
an hypothesis.




The first European to see a potato is Spanish Conquistador Pedro de
Cieza de Leon. He promptly conquers it.




Another Spanish Conquistador named Quesapilla takes the potato back
to Spain in lieu of the gold he did not find.




The Italians discover that the potato is part of the nightshade family,
related to tobacco and tomatoes. In this same year, a Florentine
noblewoman discovers gnocchi between her legs one morning.




Shakespeare invents mashed potatoes, potato pancakes, twice-baked potatoes,
thrice-baked potatoes, and very burnt potatoes.




In France the potato is outlawed for fear that it causes leprosy,
syphilis, and rampant sexualit




{Here, unfortunately, there is a small, inexplicable gap in the




Samuel Johnson includes the word “tater” in his dictionary.




In a war between Prussians and Hapsburgs neither side is able to win
on the battlefield, so both try to starve out the other by stealing and
eating their enemies’ stockpile of potatoes.




The Belgians invent French fries.




Potato crop failure in Ireland, one million people starve to death. The
Irish become famous.




Out of spite for an insolent customer, half Native American, half
African American chef George Crum invents the potato chip. His
creation becomes exceptionally popular, but he forgets to patent it.




The Idaho Potato is invented in Massachusetts.




During the Alaskan Klondike gold rush, miners discover that potatoes
are high in vitamin C and are thus worth their weight in gold. A pound
of potatoes is traded for a pound of gold.




Ms. Laura Scudder invents the paper bag in which to put potato chips.




Unwilling to take the abuse any longer, Anne Frank writes of her
odium of potatoes.




The first baked potato to be microwaved is microwaved by the
Raytheon Corporation.




The Canadians invent instant potato spuds.




The International Potato Center (CIP) is established in Lima, Peru,
with the mission to help developing nations increase potato production
and consumption.




A small group of academics try to reclaim the potato for itself
and begin calling it the “super tuber,” but this never really catches on.




Potato consumption is on the rise in most parts of the world. China
leads all nations by producing 40,039,000 metric tons, followed by
Russia (33,780,000), Poland (23,058,000), the United States
(20,835,000), Ukraine (16,102,000), and India (15,000,000). Average
annual per capita consumption is reported to be highest in certain
highland regions of Rwanda (153 kg).




Americans eat 19% of their meals in automobiles, and each
automobile weighs, on average, 2600 lbs.



2006 Although the potato becomes a prime candidate for farming in outer
space, the results of a nationwide poll suggest that most people believe
the potato is too modest to accept.

Mark Yakich