All hail the mighty tuber

fingerling-potatoesWell, February is National Potato Lover’s Month, but it’s also National Sweet Potato Month, and one of our very most favorite celebrations, National Hot Breakfast Month. Let’s tie all three of these events together. But first, a little history about our dear friend the tuber.

There’s been a lot written about the life of the potato throughout Europe and particularly in Ireland, but the tuber is really uniquely part of the Americas. The Incas called them “papas” and they were heavily cultivated in Peru and Chile.  In fact, the “papas” were held in such high esteem that many Incas were buried with potatoes.  It wasn’t until prior to the French Revolution that potatoes really gained their universal popularity, however.

It is purported that potatoes first arrived in the U.S. in a package sent by the Governor of the Bermudas.  Scotch-Irish immigrants began planting potatoes in the colonies and missionaries transported them out west. Large-scale manufacturing of potatoes really took hold during the World War years as soldiers were fed instant mashed potatoes and chips. Today, the average American eats almost 120 pounds of potatoes each year.  Potatoes really are part of our history, culture and even the arts as seen here in Vincent van Gogh’s famous painting titled The Potato Eaters: http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/vincent-van-gogh/the-potato-eaters-1885-1.

As far as sweet potatoes are concerned, their origins can also be traced to Central and South America, but rather than heading to Europe for further cultivation, the sweet potato saw wide-spread popularity in Polynesian places and also in New Zealand.  Now, on to breakfast.

A good, hot breakfast is so important in our daily lives. Ever think of what “breakfast” means? Your body responds to not eating for hours and hours by slowing down it’s metabolic rate. By eating breakfast, you wake up your metabolism and get your engine recharged. Studies show that people who eat breakfast tend to be in better moods, and breakfast gets you started on the right track for the day. If you start out with a healthy breakfast, then you’re more likely to choose something reasonable for lunch. So, try this wonderful sweet potato hash recipe, courtesy of the Food Network, for breakfast some morning: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/patrick-and-gina-neely/sweet-potato-hash-recipe.html.

If you’re looking for a wonderful potato breakfast recipe, try this one from our vast archives: http://eatwisconsinpotatoes.com/rbook/recipe/view/3494.  Whatever you decide to do in February, make certain you enjoy a good, hot breakfast complete with Wisconsin potatoes and sweet potatoes.

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