Suprisingly Badass Facts About the Potato
For everyone who missed the memo, August 19th is national potato day, before you go off and Google it, no, we’re not making that up. But so is October 27th. That’s right, the potato is so great it gets TWO National Days and nobody even thinks about joining them somewhere in the middle of September.
Although most people see ground apples as dirty clumps of starch so unappealing to the human palette they can only sneak into our diet wearing a shiny plastic disguises or fried overcoats, they’re badass as all hell. Don’t believe us? Well did you know that …
Potatoes can take scurvy in a fistfight
Because the majority of people today only really eat potatoes when they’ve been deep-fried and covered in enough salt to attract sharks, they’re often portrayed by the media as being unhealthy. Which is really quite unfair because beneath their dusky brown exterior, potatoes hide a rather surprising host of healthy benefits including a scurvy-punching amount of Vitamin C.
In fact, the potato is so rich in Vitamin C that during the Klondike gold rush of 1897, it wasn’t uncommon for miners to straight up trade potatoes for lumps of gold. Which is something we suggest you take note of in case you ever find yourself in a situation where you have access to a time machine and a sack of raw French fries.
Potatoes were also the foodstuff of choice for discerning sailors and pirates during long trips at sea both because of their versatility and the fact you could wing them at passing seagulls. Yeah that’s right, potatoes are frickin’ pirate approved! Suck on that, every other vegetable. But we’re not done yet because did you also know …
Potatoes could survive an apocalypse, for longer than you at least
Because you’re reading a site called Man Cave Daily, we’re going to guess that you have a zombie survival plan. Well we have sad news for you, unless you happen to have a fortified concrete bunker in your backyard, you’d probably be outlived by a potato in the event the world ended.
Why? Well to put it simply, if properly stored a raw potato could conceivably last about 12 months before it went bad, which may not sound like long until you realize that we’re talking about a raw potato here. There are tinned foods that don’t last that long and they’re covered in metal. Raw potatoes can last longer than most packaged food can after it’s been irradiated and shoved inside an invisible plastic forcefield.
As if that wasn’t badass enough, the Incan Indians used to use potatoes as insurance against natural disasters by turning them into a dish called chuño, which was made by stomping the potatoes into a fine paste and then throwing it into a mine. Chuño was so long-lasting that it could be stored for years without refrigeration or any other special considerations and was so rugged that it was often one of the first things invaders stole.
The Incan people used to keep so much of this stuff in supply that even during natural disasters, crop failures and times of war, nobody ever went hungry. We weren’t kidding when we said potatoes could outlast you in an emergency.
Potatoes are also more fabulous than you
Now we’re going to guess that a few of you reading this aren’t happy that we’ve basically said that a potato has better survival instinct than you, so we’re going to double down and say they’re also more stylish.
During the late 18th century, the potato came to the attention of a Frenchman called, Antoine-Augustin de Parmentier. Now Parmentier was absolutely certain that the potato was going to change the world, however, he unfortunately lived in a time when everyone in France though the potato sucked ass and was also poisonous. So he decided to change that, with style.
Realizing that peasants would only come around on the idea of eating dirt apples if they observed the social elite enjoying them, Parmentier approached King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette with a curious proposition, making the potato cool. Though that sounds like an almost impossible feat, Parmentier managed to change almost everyone’s opinion on pre-chips in just a few short months by filling a huge-ass field with them and asking the king’s best men to “guard” them, but to also turn a blind eye to any thefts. As Parmentier expected, almost overnight the field was raided by local peasants.
Parmentier then redoubled his efforts by presenting a bouquet of potato blossoms to the ever stylish and always foxy, Marie Antoinette, immediately causing demand for the potato to skyrocket. Parmentier finally the threw a huge party where every meal was made from potatoes to showcase their versatility. Within the year, almost everyone in France was eating potatoes just to be cool.
As impressive as that sounds, we really wish can’t give Parmentier all of the credit, because he totally stole that idea off of, Frederick the Great who did the exact same thing with the exact same result a few years earlier.
Just let that sentence stew in your head for a moment, a man once managed to convince an entire country to eat potatoes, a thing they genuinely thought was poisonous, just by pretending that they couldn’t have any. That’s some next level reverse psychology right there.
We’re hoping that after reading this the question on your lips is, why is there a day celebrating how awesome potatoes are, it should be, why isn’t it a goddamn week?
Karl Smallwood is a freelance comedy writer you can hire! His work has been featured on Cracked, Toptenz and Gunaxin. You should probably click those links to make sure he isn’t lying. He also runs his own website where he responds to the various pieces of hate-mail he’s gotten over the years, in fact, he got so much hate-mail that he wrote a book about it that you can buy on Amazon. When he isn’t writing, Karl also Tweets and uploads pictures of himself drinking on Facebook.
For food that nourishes soul as well as body, read the surprisingly touching story of National Doughnut Day.