How Potatoes Saved The Queen (Fun Historical Stories for Kids)


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Into the ovens go the stalks, as well as straw, brush, scraps of wood and cow dung. When the ovens turn white with heat, cooks place fresh potatoes on the ashes for baking. Steam curls up from hot food into the clear, cold air. People dip their potatoes in coarse salt and edible clay. Night winds carry the smell of roasting potatoes for what seems like miles. The potato Andeans roasted before contact with Europeans was not the modern spud; they cultivated different varieties at different altitudes. Most people in a village planted a few basic types, but most everyone also planted others to have a variety of tastes.

Andean farmers today produce modern, Idaho-style breeds for the market, but describe them as bland—for yahoos in cities. The result was chaotic diversity. Potatoes in one village at one altitude could look wildly unlike those a few miles away in another village at another altitude. In , a Peruvian-American research team found that families in one mountain valley in central Peru grew an average of In adjacent villages Karl Zimmerer, an environmental scientist now at Pennsylvania State University, visited fields with up to 20 landraces. The International Potato Center in Peru has preserved almost 5, varieties.

Sorting it out has given taxonomists headaches for decades. The first Spaniards in the region—the band led by Francisco Pizarro, who landed in —noticed Indians eating these strange, round objects and emulated them, often reluctantly. News of the new food spread rapidly. Within three decades, Spanish farmers as far away as the Canary Islands were exporting potatoes to France and the Netherlands which were then part of the Spanish empire.

Still, he gave it the thumbs up. With such halfhearted endorsements, the potato spread slowly. When Prussia was hit by famine in , King Frederick the Great, a potato enthusiast, had to order the peasantry to eat the tubers. In England, 18th-century farmers denounced S. France was especially slow to adopt the spud. During his multiple prison stints he ate little but potatoes, a diet that kept him in good health.

His surprise at this outcome led Parmentier to become a pioneering nutritional chemist after the war ended, in ; he devoted the rest of his life to promulgating S. After Louis XVI was crowned in , he lifted price controls on grain. Bread prices shot up, sparking what became known as the Flour War: more than civil disturbances in 82 towns.

Parmentier tirelessly proclaimed that France would stop fighting over bread if only her citizens would eat potatoes. Meanwhile, he set up one publicity stunt after another: presenting an all-potato dinner to high-society guests the story goes that Thomas Jefferson, one of the guests, was so delighted he introduced French fries to America ; supposedly persuading the king and queen to wear potato blossoms; and planting 40 acres of potatoes at the edge of Paris, knowing that famished commoners would steal them.

In exalting the potato, Parmentier unwittingly changed it. When farmers plant pieces of tuber, rather than seeds, the resultant sprouts are clones. By urging potato cultivation on a massive scale, Parmentier was unknowingly promoting the notion of planting huge areas with clones—a true monoculture. The effects of this transformation were so striking that any general history of Europe without an entry in its index for S. Hunger was a familiar presence in 17th- and 18th-century Europe. Cities were provisioned reasonably well in most years, their granaries carefully monitored, but country people teetered on a precipice.

France, the historian Fernand Braudel once calculated, had 40 nationwide famines between and , more than one per decade. The continent simply could not reliably feed itself. The potato changed all that. Every year, many farmers left fallow as much as half of their grain land, to rest the soil and fight weeds which were plowed under in summer. Now smallholders could grow potatoes on the fallow land, controlling weeds by hoeing. By the end of the 18th century, potatoes had become in much of Europe what they were in the Andes—a staple.

Roughly 40 percent of the Irish ate no solid food other than potatoes; the figure was between 10 percent and 30 percent in the Netherlands, Belgium, Prussia and perhaps Poland. At long last, the continent could produce its own dinner. It was said that the Chincha Islands gave off a stench so intense they were difficult to approach.

The Chinchas are a clutch of three dry, granitic islands 13 miles off the southern coast of Peru. Almost nothing grows on them. Their sole distinction is a population of seabirds, especially the Peruvian booby, the Peruvian pelican and the Peruvian cormorant.

ADDITIONAL MEDIA

Attracted by the vast schools of fish along the coast, the birds have nested on the Chincha Islands for millennia. Over time they covered the islands with a layer of guano up to feet thick. Although most of the atmosphere consists of nitrogen, the gas is made from two nitrogen atoms bonded so tightly to each other that plants cannot split them apart for use. As a result, plants seek usable nitrogen-containing compounds like ammonia and nitrates from the soil. Alas, soil bacteria constantly digest these substances, so they are always in lesser supply than farmers would like.

In , the organic chemist Justus von Liebig published a pioneering treatise that explained how plants depend on nitrogen. Along the way, he extolled guano as an excellent source of it. Sophisticated farmers, many of them big landowners, raced to buy the stuff. Their yields doubled, even tripled. Fertility in a bag! Prosperity that could be bought in a store! Guano mania took hold. In 40 years, Peru exported about 13 million tons of it, the great majority dug under ghastly working conditions by slaves from China.

Seize the guano islands! Spurred by public fury, the U. Congress passed the Guano Islands Act in , authorizing Americans to seize any guano deposits they discovered. Over the next half-century, U.

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Guano set the template for modern agriculture. Ever since von Liebig, farmers have treated the land as a medium into which they dump bags of chemical nutrients brought in from far away so they can harvest high volumes for shipment to distant markets. To maximize crop yields, farmers plant ever-larger fields with a single crop—industrial monoculture, as it is called. Before the potato and corn , before intensive fertilization, European living standards were roughly equivalent to those in Cameroon and Bangladesh today.

On average, European peasants ate less per day than hunting-and-gathering societies in Africa or the Amazon. Industrial monoculture allowed billions of people—in Europe first, and then in much of the rest of the world—to escape poverty.


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The revolution begun by potatoes, corn and guano has allowed living standards to double or triple worldwide even as human numbers climbed from fewer than one billion in to some seven billion today. It sends out tiny bags of 6 to 12 spores that are carried on the wind, usually for no more than 20 feet, occasionally for half a mile or more. When the bag lands on a susceptible plant, it breaks open, releasing what are technically known as zoospores. If the day is warm and wet enough, the zoospores germinate, sending threadlike filaments into the leaf. The first obvious symptoms—purple-black or purple-brown spots on the leaves—are visible in about five days.

By then it is often too late for the plant to survive. Scientists believe that it originated in Peru. Large-scale traffic between Peru and northern Europe began with the guano rush. Proof will never be found, but it is widely believed that the guano ships carried P. Probably taken to Antwerp, P. The blight hopscotched to Paris by that August. Weeks later, it was destroying potatoes in the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and England. Governments panicked. It was reported in Ireland on September 13, Cormac O Grada, an economist and blight historian at University College, Dublin, has estimated that Irish farmers planted about 2.

In two months P. The next year was worse, as was the year after that. The attack did not wind down until A million or more Irish people died—one of the deadliest famines in history, in the percentage of population lost. A similar famine in the United States today would kill almost 40 million people.

Within a decade, two million more had fled Ireland, almost three-quarters of them to the United States. Many more would follow. Today the nation has the melancholy distinction of being the only country in Europe, and perhaps the world, to have fewer people within the same boundaries than it did more than years ago. Despite its ghastly outcome, P.

Its name notwithstanding, this orange-and-black creature is not from Colorado. Nor did it have much interest in potatoes in its original habitat, in south-central Mexico; its diet centered on buffalo bur, a weedy, spiny, knee-high potato relative.

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Biologists believe that buffalo bur was confined to Mexico until Spaniards, agents of the Columbian Exchange, carried horses and cows to the Americas. Quickly realizing the usefulness of these animals, Indians stole as many as they could, sending them north for their families to ride and eat. Buffalo bur apparently came along, tangled in horse manes, cow tails and native saddlebags. The beetle followed. In the early s it encountered the cultivated potato around the Missouri River and liked what it tasted.

For millennia the potato beetle had made do with the buffalo bur scattered through the Mexican hills. By comparison, an Iowa farm, its fields solid with potatoes, was an ocean of breakfast. Because growers planted just a few varieties of a single species, pests like the beetle and the blight had a narrower range of natural defenses to overcome. If they could adapt to potatoes in one place, they could jump from one identical food pool to the next—a task made easier than ever thanks to inventions like railroads, steamships and refrigeration. Beetles spread in such numbers that by the time they reached the Atlantic Coast, their glittering orange bodies carpeted beaches and made railway tracks so slippery as to be impassable.

Desperate farmers tried everything they could to rid themselves of the invaders.

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Eventually one man apparently threw some leftover green paint on his infested plants. It worked. The emerald pigment in the paint was Paris green, made largely from arsenic and copper. Developed in the late 18th century, it was common in paints, fabrics and wallpaper. Farmers diluted it with flour and dusted it on their potatoes or mixed it with water and sprayed.

To potato farmers, Paris green was a godsend. To chemists, it was something that could be tinkered with. Important details about the plot or story are up ahead Skip section. To edit the gallery, click here. To edit the transcript, click here. The First Step to Recovery [Idaho is sitting in the cafeteria when Darwin sits next to him, cuts open a potato and starts eating it] Darwin : Mmmm! Gumball : Hey Idaho, my number one brotato! How's it hangin'? Idaho : Hmph! Gumball : Isn't it obvious?

Darwin : Umm Gumball : Dude. You're eating potato! In front of Idaho! The potato! Darwin : [Gasps] That's it! If it upsets Idaho, I'm never gonna eat potato again. There are plenty of other foods I like. I'll just eat those. I'll go ask for some fries. Gumball : Uh, those are potato, too. What did you think French fries were made of? Darwin : French people? Gumball : SMH dude Darwin : Mmmm. Gumball : Also potatoes. Darwin : Wedges? Gumball : 'Tato. Darwin : Hash browns? Darwin : Tater tots? Darwin : Croquette? Darwin : Patatas bravas? Darwin : Potato salad?

At least it was only once. Darwin : Sure thing! Gumball : Yeah. Maybe you need to think about how other people feel. Darwin : Also, I eat way too many potatoes. Gumball : I'm proud of you, buddy. Openly addmiting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Darwin : Okay! All better. And that chair doesn't have a back on it. Darwin : [Peels a potato] [Screams] I do need help. Quitting Potatoes [The school bell rings.

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Gumball and Darwin are in an empty classroom] Gumball : Okay, dude, we've cleared out your locker and your desk. Is there anywhere else we've missed? Darwin : Hmm. Is there anywhere else? Could there be any other potatoes? I think we've got them— [Gumball grabs the potato taped under Darwin's desk] Gumball : Thanks for leading me to your secret supply.

Darwin : But you'll never find my secret secr— [Gumball grabs another potato behind Darwin] Darwin : Dang. Gumball : Stay strong, bro. I know this isn't easy. Darwin : [Tearing up] This is a very emotional time for me. Everything is great. Like, really, really relax! I'll fight anything that moves!

Ways to Cope [Gumball and Darwin are in the library in front of the computers] Gumball : You know, a lot of people find doing something with their hands helps take their mind off cravings. Let's search for Gumball : Origami!


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That's a great idea! Darwin : Not at all. Gumball : Well, at least it hasn't upset anyone. Teri : Hey, guys, have you seen my parents? They were coming in today to see Miss Simian. Teri : Never mind. Gumball : Clearly, dedication and good intentions aren't working. Time to put our faith in something that looks like science, but isn't. Zanthor : Welcome to Dr.

Zanthor's "Hypnotize Yourself to a Healthier You. You're feeling very sleepy. You're lying in a field. Gumball : [Eating chips] Did it help? Darwin : No! And neither is that!

Get those chips out of my face! Gumball : [Sighs] Do we really have to tell you, or will you just admit that you've been eavesdropping and already have a solution? Sarah : I sure do! Just leave it to Scoop Dogg! Gumball : Oh. Is he coming here, or do we go to him? Sarah : Neither. Darwin : So, we just Sarah : No, no. It's me. I'm Scoop Dogg. It's a new nickname I'm trying. Gumball and Darwin : Oh. Gumball : That was not at all clear.

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It is accompanied by eerie music and shows footage of potatoes being harvested, turned into fries, and being eaten by a child who laughs evilly] Sarah : Did it work? Darwin : Not really. Aversion therapy is just advertising with different music. Also, it would have worked better if you hadn't wedged my eyes open with French fries. Sarah : How about Mr.

Small's group therapy? It's really good. I've been to every single one to cure my obsessive personality. Haven't missed a week. Tried to — couldn't. Welcome to the therapy group. Gumball : Wait, it's just you guys? You can't be a group of two. That's a duo. Gumball : It is weird. Sarah : Oh, oh, oh! I'll start.

This isn't about you! It's about me — helping Darwin to give up potatoes. Darwin : Because it's upsetting Idaho. I gave up eating meat using the visualization technique. Each time I wanted to eat some meat, I would picture it with a face. It was harrowing, but it worked. Try it. Darwin : Whoa! I don't feel like eating potatoes anymore. Thank you, Mr. Small stand up to hug, Darwin notices a string of sausages on Mr.

Small's desk] Darwin : What's that on your desk? Go back to the part where you were saying what a great duo therapist I am. Darwin : I never said that. Is that a string of sausages? And you've got steaks hidden under here! It's not what it looks like. I've been hiding meat around my desk because I can't stop eating it!

Gumball : That's exactly what it looks like. Darwin : You're a total fake! That's it! Darwin : [Crying] I'm sorry, but this is who I am! I don't feel any different. Do I look okay? Small and Sarah, who all have potatoes for heads] Gumball : Potato. Sarah : Potato, potato. Potato : Hello, Darwin!

Nice to see you! Glad to have you back with us! But we have things we need to tell if it isn't too much fuss! We really can't forgive when you cut us into pieces! We wish you haven't eaten all our nephews and nieces! Mashed, and baked, and fried, and roasted! Peeled off all our skin! Dug out all our eyes! Diced into wedges and you sliced us into fries! We are glad we came to see you! One more thing we must discuss! The final thing we need to say is Darwin : That's it! I need to do this on my own. I'm gonna lock myself in my room until I beat this thing! We did it! Idaho : I'm not. You just shut my hand in the locker.

Idaho : So, what was that about Darwin? Gumball : He's gone home and locked himself in his room to quit eating potatoes because it was upsetting you. Idaho : Why would I be upset? I'm not the same potatoes as you eat in the canteen. Are you saying that all potatoes look the same? Gumball : [Gasps] Uh Uh, uh Sarah : [Whispering] Say "no!

Idaho : [Sighs] I'm gonna go see Darwin. Gumball : So, it looks like everything worked out well in the end. Sarah : I don't think you understand what just happened. Darwin is struggling to battle his potato cravings, and you just let Idaho — the potato — go off and see him! Gumball : So, we're good? Sure is hot. I better put some sunscreen on. This ain't sunscreen! It's tanning oil! Look at me, getting all crispy! So, Idaho has gone to see Darwin. Remember, Darwin is struggling to resist eating potatoes Gumball : [Echoing] If I have a serious expression and nod really slowly, it'll look like I'm listening to every word she's saying.

Sarah : Gumball! Gumball : What? Sarah : You do realize you said all of that out loud? Gumball : [Echoing] Quick! Think of a good excuse. Sarah : And that! What do you think you're doing?! Goblin : I'm salting the roads for ice. Idaho : But it's, like, ninety degrees out here, and it's June! Goblin : I'm so fired. I'm sorry I didn't have time to build it to scale. So, here's Darw— Gumball : Sarah! We don't have time for this! I just realized that Idaho is on his way to see the potato-starved Darwin and Idaho is a potato!

Its driver, Hank, tries braking] Hank : Oh, no! The truck is out of control! Hank panics, but thankfully, he was driving on a road parallel to Idaho's] Hank : Oh. I guess it's all right. He knocks on the door] Idaho : Darwin? The door slams shut on its own, startling him] Idaho : Eh. Meanwhile, Gumball arrives with Sarah, but struggles to open the door] Gumball : Darwin! Don't do it! Open up! Bits of potato are scattered all over the floor] Gumball : Darwin? Idaho : Gumball? Gumball : Not now, Idaho! Darwin : Idaho brought me this baked to show me it's okay to eat potatoes, and there's no hard feelings.

Gumball : Brotato! You're alive! Gumball : Wait. I thought you were upset at Darwin. Idaho : No, I was upset at you! I hate that stupid nickname! Sarah : Oh, we thought you were annoyed about the potato thing, but you were annoyed about the brotato thing! Darwin : So, we're all gonna pretend we didn't hear him say that, right? Sarah : Yeah. Categories :. End spoilers. Episode 1 The DVD. Episode 2 The Responsible. Episode 3 The Third. Episode 4 The Debt. Episode 5 The End. Episode 6 The Dress. Episode 7 The Quest. Episode 8 The Spoon. Episode 9 The Pressure. Episode 10 The Painting.

Episode 11 The Laziest. Episode 12 The Ghost. Episode 13 The Mystery. Episode 14 The Prank. Episode 15 The Gi. Episode 16 The Kiss. Episode 17 The Party. Episode 18 The Refund. Episode 19 The Robot. Episode 20 The Picnic. Episode 21 The Goons. Episode 22 The Secret. Episode 23 The Sock. Episode 24 The Genius. Episode 25 The Poltergeist. Episode 26 The Mustache. Episode 27 The Date. Episode 28 The Club. Episode 29 The Wand. Episode 30 The Ape. Episode 31 The Car. Episode 32 The Curse. Episode 33 The Microwave.

Episode 34 The Meddler. Episode 35 The Helmet. Episode 36 The Fight. Episode 1 The Remote. Episode 2 The Colossus. Episode 3 The Knights. Episode 4 The Fridge.

How Potatoes Saved The Queen (Fun Historical Stories for Kids) How Potatoes Saved The Queen (Fun Historical Stories for Kids)
How Potatoes Saved The Queen (Fun Historical Stories for Kids) How Potatoes Saved The Queen (Fun Historical Stories for Kids)
How Potatoes Saved The Queen (Fun Historical Stories for Kids) How Potatoes Saved The Queen (Fun Historical Stories for Kids)
How Potatoes Saved The Queen (Fun Historical Stories for Kids) How Potatoes Saved The Queen (Fun Historical Stories for Kids)
How Potatoes Saved The Queen (Fun Historical Stories for Kids) How Potatoes Saved The Queen (Fun Historical Stories for Kids)
How Potatoes Saved The Queen (Fun Historical Stories for Kids) How Potatoes Saved The Queen (Fun Historical Stories for Kids)
How Potatoes Saved The Queen (Fun Historical Stories for Kids) How Potatoes Saved The Queen (Fun Historical Stories for Kids)

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