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Subject: where did potatoes originate?
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking

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From: Mimi W. Tzeng 
Date: 25 Apr 2001 02:32:38 GMT
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Hello all,

Been a while since I've posted (or even read). I was wondering if anyone
could settle a longstanding bet between myself and a friend who is part
Irish. He insists that potatoes originated in Ireland, or at least the 
British Isles. I'm pretty certain that I've heard somewhere that they 
came from the Americas. Who is right? ;)

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From: Robert Common 
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2001 02:36:12 GMT
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. He insists that potatoes originated in Ireland, or at least the
> British Isles. I'm pretty certain that I've heard somewhere that they
> came from the Americas. Who is right? ;)

You win!!   Potatoes came from South America (Peru) and became a favorite
crop in Ireland because a large crop return could be had on a small plot.

Bob

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From: wardna[at]aol.com (Neil)
Date: 28 Apr 2001 00:59:10 GMT
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>became a favorite
>crop in Ireland because a large crop return could be had on a small plot.

. . . and because the crop could be neglected all summer, while the farmer
emigrated to England to work as a servant or day laborer.

It ain't wheat.

Yeah, Peru still grows the most varieties.

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From: bkaplan104[at]aol.com (BKaplan104)
Date: 11 May 2001 08:25:41 GMT
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   Eastern Europe, actually, I think.  I be-
lieve the first liquor made there was vodka,
or something similar. At any rate, it was 
made from potatoes....

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From: fmathies[at]aol.com (Florence)
Date: 11 May 2001 08:43:58 GMT
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BKaplan104 wrote:
>   Eastern Europe, actually, I think.  I be-
>lieve the first liquor made there was vodka,
>or something similar. At any rate, it was 
>made from potatoes....

South America.  Then to Europe.

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From: Kaari Jae 
Date: Sat, 19 May 2001 06:57:16 GMT
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BKaplan104 wrote:
>    Eastern Europe, actually, I think.  I be-
> lieve the first liquor made there was vodka,
> or something similar. At any rate, it was
> made from potatoes....

Don't think so. Potatoes came to Europe from South America and it took
quite sometime before anybody was comfortable of eating them let alone
growing them plenty enough to make booze. 
Considering wine has been growing in Europe for quite few centuries, and
before potatoes, I'd think the first hard liquor made was made by
distilling wine. Vodka is made from potatoes, or from grain.

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From: Leslie Bonser 
Date: Sat, 19 May 2001 22:32:25 GMT
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I thought vodka *could* be made from just about anything...the good stuff is
from grain, but potatoes are used in the worst of times, like during WWII.

Yes, I believe potatoes are a new world plant. Like tomatoes, they were
originally thought to be poisonous. Both are members of the nightshade
family.

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From: penmart01[at]aol.como (Sheldon)
Date: 19 May 2001 23:35:10 GMT
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The potato originated in Antarctica, propogated by ferocious penguins who fed
them to their young, and who bred the purplish ones to nourish horny Irish
Catholic vaginas.

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From: Harry A. Demidavicius 
Date: Mon, 21 May 2001 01:09:42 GMT
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Sheldon wrote:
>The potato originated in Antarctica, propogated by ferocious penguins who fed
>them to their young, and who bred the purplish ones to nourish horny Irish
>Catholic vaginas.

No, Sheldon.  That would be beets.

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From: Jack Schidt 
Date: Mon, 21 May 2001 05:54:34 GMT
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Potatoes are extremely popular in germany.  It wasn't always
so.  The germans planted potatoes and ate the leafy
parts......blech.  Frederik the Great, a cultured and
worldly sort, knew the tuber and presented potatoes in the
marketplace under armed guard.  They caught on quickly after
that.

Jack Kartoffel

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From: demas[at]world.std.com (Charles Demas) 
Date: Mon, 21 May 2001 12:51:18 GMT
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Jack Schidt wrote:
>Potatoes are extremely popular in germany.  It wasn't always
>so.  The germans planted potatoes and ate the leafy
>parts......blech.  

I thought the greens were poisonous, oxalic acid or something like
that, but perhaps my memory is faulty.

Chuck Demas

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From: bobnorton[at]mindspring.net (Bob Norton)
Date: 21 May 2001 10:09:12 -0500
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Charles Demas  wrote:
> I thought the greens were poisonous, oxalic acid or something like
> that, but perhaps my memory is faulty.

Solanine.

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From: sillyOsillyme[at]hotmail.com
Date: Mon, 21 May 2001 15:29:00 GMT
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Everything is poisonous except the tuber.
I thought they came from America. 

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From: L.J. LaMere 
Date: Tue, 22 May 2001 08:07:53 -0400
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It's been so long that I don't remember when I didn't believe it. But I've always thought they were
native to the Chilean Andes mountains where there are(?) more than 300 varieties both cultivars and
wild types. "Course I've been wrong before and it's the things we learn earliest that are hardest to
correct.

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From: Ranee Mueller 
Date: Wed, 23 May 2001 16:26:33 -0700
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sillyOsillyme wrote:
> Everything is poisonous except the tuber.
> I thought they came from America.

   South, yes.

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From: Michael Sierchio 
Date: Mon, 21 May 2001 16:56:10 -0700
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Charles Demas wrote:
> I thought the greens were poisonous, oxalic acid or something like
> that, but perhaps my memory is faulty.

The green is chlorophyll.  The toxins are solanine and solanidine, which
are distributed throughout the flesh of a potato, and concentrated in the
sprouts.  Cutting off the green part, common advice, won't help you avoid 
the poison entirely.  Among other things, these are cholinesterase inhibitors,
and can be quite harmful to children, old folks, etc.

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From: Vox Humana 
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2001 02:37:48 GMT
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Mimi W. Tzeng wrote:>
>  I was wondering if anyone
> could settle a longstanding bet between myself and a friend who is part
> Irish. He insists that potatoes originated in Ireland, or at least the
> British Isles. I'm pretty certain that I've heard somewhere that they
> came from the Americas. Who is right? ;)

http://www.sunspiced.com/phistory.html
"The Andean Mountains of South America is the birthplace of the Irish" white
potato that we eat today."

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From: hotel splendid Nice 
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2001 10:13:52 +0200
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Bonjour
they were indeed imported from Peru by a frenchman named Parmentier
hence the name Parmentier in classical recipes meaning any food containing
potatoes

bon appetit

michel

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From: miche[at]technologist.com (Miche)
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2001 20:36:55 +1200
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Mimi W. Tzeng wrote:
> I'm pretty certain that I've heard somewhere that they
> came from the Americas. Who is right? ;)

You are.  Potatoes are native to South and Central America.  As are a lot
of familiar foods.

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From: wardna[at]aol.com (WardNA)
Date: 28 Apr 2001 01:00:29 GMT
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>Potatoes are native to South and Central America.

Central America?  No:  they were reimported to Central America by Spaniards.

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From: brisaussie 
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2001 18:33:14 +1000
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The origional potato was purple, BRIGHT purple. They are related to tomatoes
and deadly nightshade.

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From: miche[at]technologist.com (Miche)
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2001 21:30:59 +1200
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brisaussie wrote:
> The origional potato was purple, BRIGHT purple. They are related to tomatoes
> and deadly nightshade.

Purple potatoes are still available.  A blue variety called "moemoe" is
grown in New Zealand, too.

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From: Mimi W. Tzeng 
Date: 25 Apr 2001 17:35:21 GMT
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brisaussie wrote:
:The origional potato was purple, BRIGHT purple. They are related to tomatoes
:and deadly nightshade.

Okay, I didn't know they were related to tomatoes. ;) (though I did know
tomatoes are related to nightshade). 

Thanks to everyone for all the responses. :)

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From: bbr1[at]ritz.cec.wustl.edu (Brian B. Rodenborn)
Date: 25 Apr 2001 12:56:07 -0500
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Mimi W. Tzeng wrote:
>Okay, I didn't know they were related to tomatoes. ;) (though I did know
>tomatoes are related to nightshade). 

As a matter of fact, they are so closely related that they can crossbreed,
producing something know as the pomato. 

Of course, most people don't know that potatoes can produce fruit.

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From: kwjim[at]nospam.net
Date: 25 Apr 2001 23:59:25 GMT
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Brian B. Rodenborn wrote:
>As a matter of fact, they are so closely related that they can crossbreed,
>producing something know as the pomato. 
>
>Of course, most people don't know that potatoes can produce fruit.

Sorry folks, but tomatos and potatoes Cannot crossbreed. The following are w
questions and answers from Texas A&M Univ website with details on this
question.
Q: My potato plants produced small tomatoes this year. I planted them next to
my tomatoes. Could they have crossed or have my potatoes mutated?
	A: The fruit on the potato plant is actually the fruiting structure of the
potato plant. The potato and tomato belong to the same botanical family and
have similar growth characteristics. The potato flower looks very much like
the tomato flower and is pollinated and fertilized identical to the tomato
flower. The fruit will mature if the plant is left long enough. Your potato
and tomato plants have not cross fertilized.
11.	Q: What is a "Topato" which is advertised in gardening publications?
	A: The Topato is a patented name used by a company to describe a plant which
supposedly produces tomatoes above ground and potatoes beneath the ground. If
a Topato is ordered, you will receive several potato seed pieces, a few
tomato seed and usually a razor blade with instructions as to how the Topato
should be planted. This generally consists of hollowing out the potato seed
piece, placing several tomato seed in the hollowed out area and planting the
result in your garden. If it germinates and grows, the result is both a
tomato and a potato plant above and beneath the ground. It will not be a
cross, one plant with the ability to produce tomatoes and potatoes, but will
be two individual plants producing normally.

hope this clears that up
James (webmaster, chef, writer)
http://foodreference.com
The Food Reference Website

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From: bbr1[at]ritz.cec.wustl.edu (Brian B. Rodenborn)
Date: 26 Apr 2001 12:33:48 -0500
--------
kwjim wrote:
>Sorry folks, but tomatos and potatoes Cannot crossbreed. 

My recollection was that crossbreeds were possible. Doing a bit of
net searching found several references to Luther Burbank's pomatoes,
but no real explanation of what they were. I'm certain that they 
wouldn't be the "tomato seeds and potato pieces" you mention.
The one I remembered referred strictly to the fruit.

Pomatoes have definitely been produced in the laboratory, using some
bioengineering techniques.

>hope this clears that up

Your references were fine, except that they were about something
different than I was (trying) to describe. Without getting some of
the books about Luther Burbank, and researching the pomatoes he
developed, I can't say for sure what those were.

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From: ndooley[at]blue.weeg.uiowa.edu (Nancy Dooley)
Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2001 13:51:26 GMT
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Mimi W. Tzeng wrote:
>Okay, I didn't know they were related to tomatoes. ;) (though I did know
>tomatoes are related to nightshade). 

They aren't related to nightshades, they are nightshades - potatoes,
tomatoes and bell peppers.

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From: penmart01[at]aol.como (Sheldon)
Date: 26 Apr 2001 14:32:22 GMT
--------
More . . .

ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA 

Solanaceae
the nightshade, or potato, family of flowering plants (order Solanales), with
about 95 genera and at least 2,400 species, many of considerable economic
importance as food and drug plants. Among the most important of these are the
potato (Solanum tuberosum); eggplant (S. melongena); tomato (Lycopersicon
esculentum); garden, or capsicum, pepper (Capsicum annuum and C. frutescens);
tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum); deadly nightshade, the source of belladonna
(Atropa belladonna); the poisonous jimsonweed (Datura stramonium) and
nightshades (S. nigrum, S. dulcamara, and others); and many garden ornamentals,
such as the genera Petunia, Lycium, Solanum, Nicotiana, Datura, Salpiglossis,
Browallia, Brunfelsia, Cestrum, Schizanthus, Solandra, Streptosolen, and
Nierembergia.

Members of the Solanaceae family are found throughout the world but are most
abundant and widely distributed in the tropical regions of Latin America, where
about 40 genera are endemic. Very few members are found in temperate regions,
and only about 50 species are found in the United States and Canada combined.
The genus Solanum contains almost half of all the species in the family,
including all the species of wild potatoes found in the Western Hemisphere. The
poisonous alkaloids present in some species of the family have given the latter
its sombre vernacular name of “nightshade.”

Members of the family are characterized by solitary or clustered flowers with
sepals and petals, five in number and fused; five stamens; and a superior ovary
(i.e., one situated above the attachment point of the other flower parts),
composed of two fused carpels (ovule-bearing segments) and obliquely placed in
the flower upon a basal disk of tissue. The style (upper end of the ovary) is
simple and bears a two-lobed stigma, the pollen-receptive surface. The flowers
are usually conspicuous and are visited by insects.

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From: bbbobnorton[at]earthlink.net (Bob Norton)
Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2001 20:06:13 -0600
--------
brisaussie wrote:
>The origional potato was purple, BRIGHT purple. They are related to
>tomatoes and deadly nightshade.

Hard to say what the "original" potato is since the Peruvians had about 200 
different varieties growing when the Spaniards first invaded Peru. Every 
color of the rainbow and every conceivable shape and flavor. 90% of these 
cultivars have been lost in the last 25 years, mostly thanks to the World 
Bank and US agricultural advisors.

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From: Michael Sierchio 
Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2001 19:36:30 -0700
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Bob Norton wrote:
> Hard to say what the "original" potato is since the Peruvians had about 200
> different varieties growing when the Spaniards first invaded Peru.

That is evidence suggestive of long cultivation, if not origin.
I'm happy to give Incas the credit.

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From: bbbobnorton[at]earthlink.net (Bob Norton)
Date: Sat, 28 Apr 2001 01:00:06 -0600
--------
Michael Sierchio wrote:
>That is evidence suggestive of long cultivation, if not origin.
>I'm happy to give Incas the credit.

They predate the Inca by a few thousand years judging from archeologicical 
evidence.


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