The Amazing Potato by Milton Meltzer

You can skip pages 13-16 which give a brief account of the standard evolutionary story of the progress of mankind from hunter-gatherer to farmer in only a few million years.

The rest of the book is a praise-evoking tale of a wonderful and useful creation: the potato. Did you know that the potato “provides nearly perfect nutrition?” That Thomas Jefferson, with his love for all things Frenchified, popularized the potato in the U.S. by serving various and sundry French-derived potato dishes at the White House?

Potatoes lyonaise, by the way, are potatoes fried with onions. Yum! Germans, Frenchmen, Russians, Poles, Italians, Spaniards, Greeks, and the Swiss all have special beloved national dishes made of

“The potato was the most precious gift Peru gave to the world–more valuable than all the golden treasure of the Incan kings.”

This book demonstrates for children and for adults a different way to look at history. Unit study history, if you will. Meltzer asserts that “something ordinary we hardly ever notice, like this lowly vegetable, can be just as important in the life of people everywhere as wars and revolutions, or kings and presidents.”

I agree. So, hip, hip, hooray for the potato! (The book itself is out of print, but I didn’t have any trouble finding a copy at my library.)

Prolific Potato Post from the Past.

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