Monday, December 8, 2008

In front of a potato, we are all equal...

I was doing my normal morning ritual; a big mug of black coffee and reading the news on the Beeb's website. As usual, it's the odd story that hooks my attention... Khalil Semhat, a farmer in Lebanon, has dug up a 25 pound potato. Biggest potato, ever. Story here.

Just when I think it can't get more interesting, it does. Did you know that it is the 'International Year of the Potato'? I didn't either and it gets even more interesting...

Reading through the potato website, I have learned quite a bit about the importance of the potato in the global human food chain. For intance, I had no idea that China was biggest potato producer; more than 20 percent of the global harvest! I associate the potato with the Americas and just assumed, wrongly, that they were the top producers.

But it gets even better! This is the best bit! On the potato website is an area about what potatoes mean to people: a source of income, an object of genetic research, a plant with varieties that require conservation and, wonderfully, the common interest of the 'Slovenian Society for Sautéed Potato and Onions'. Who knew!

Here's a quote from Stanislav Menard, the president of that Society:
"One of the basic rules of our association is that members should get together to prepare a meal of sautéed potato and onions at least once a month. In 90 minutes, over a frypan, you rediscover the importance of sharing time with your friends and enjoying a meal together, two things that are being lost in our fast food culture. The other rule is that no one should talk politics - in front of a potato, we are all equal."

I love it.

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