Tuesday, January 24, 2006


The potato was first brought to the Netherlands in 1534; it was not readily accepted. In those days people believed that things growing underground must be poisonous – so, despite food shortages and near starvation the Dutch, like so many others, were slow to adopt this new food as a staple.

The Dutch King was a wise man and he knew that acceptance of the potato could make the difference between life and death for thousands of his subjects. So he ordered that potatoes be planted in the Royal Gardens. Then, as harvest time drew near, he had a fence erected around the potato plot and posted armed guards to protect it.

But only during the day; the potatoes were left completely unguarded after night fall.

You can guess what happened. The potato quickly became a regular staple in Dutch households. And, despite a nasty habit that the Dutch have of dipping French Fries in mayonnaise, it has remained so to this day.

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