Many researchers believe that the potato’s arrival in northern Europe spelled an end to famine there. Corn, another American crop, played a similar but smaller role in southern Europe. More than that, as the historian William H. McNeill has argued, the potato led to empire, “By feeding rapidly growing populations, permitted a handful of European nations to assert dominion over most of the world between 1750 and 1950.” The potato, in other words, fueled the rise of the West.
Just as important, the European and North American adoption of the potato set the template for modern agriculture the so called agro industrial complex. Not only did the Columbian Exchange carry the potato across the Atlantic, it also brought the world’s first intensive fertilizer, Peruvian guano. And when potatoes fell to the attack of another import, the Colorado potato beetle, panicked farmers turned to the first artificial pesticide, a form of arsenic. Competition to produce ever more potent arsenic blends launched the modern pesticide industry. In the 1940s and 1950s, improved crops, high intensity fertilizers and chemical pesticides created the Green Revolution, the explosion of agricultural productivity that transformed farms from Illinois to Indonesia and set off a political argument about the food supply that grows more intense by the day.
Research Source: Smithsonian Mag Online
Potato with a twist.
Copyrighted 2014, Christine’s Pantry. All rights reserved.
4 large baking potatoes
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
diced onions for garnish
Baked potatoes at 375 degrees for one hour, until tender. Cool.
In a skillet over medium heat, cook ground beef and season with salt and Worcestershire sauce. Cook beef until no longer pink. Drain.
Cut potato in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop out pulp, leaving thin shell. Place pulp into a bowl. Add salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and melted butter, mash. Stuff potato back into potato shell.
Place on ungreased sheet pan. Top with cooked beef. Place in 350 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes until heated through. Remove from oven, and top with cheese and onions. Enjoy!