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This nOde last updated April 12th, 2003 and is permanently morphing...
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1.A South American plant (Solanum tuberosum) widely cultivated for its starchy, edible tubers.
2.A tuber of this plant.
3.A sweet potato.
[Spanish patata, alteration (probably influenced by Quechua papa, white potato), of Taino batata, sweet potato.]
Potato, edible starchy tuber. It is produced by certain plants of a genus of the nightshade family, especially the common white potato (Solanum tuberosum). The name is also applied to the plants. The white-potato tuber is a food staple in most countries of the temperate regions of the world. Native to the Peruvian Andes, the potato was brought to Europe in the 16th century by Spanish explorers. Its cultivation spread rapidly, and early in the 18th century the plant was introduced into North America. The principal potato-producing states in the United States are Idaho, Washington, Maine, Wisconsin, North Dakota, California, and Pennsylvania. Named varieties popular in the United States include Rose, Idaho, Cobbler, Early Ohio, Green Mountain, Hebron, Rural, and Burbank.
Scientific classification: Potatoes are produced by plants of the genus Solanum, of the family Solanaceae.
couch potato (noun)
inertness: vegetable, couch potato, lump on a log
slowpoke: laggard, sluggard, couch potato, sleepyhead, goof-off, goldbrick
spectator: televiewer, viewer, TV addict, couch potato
broadcasting: viewer, televiewer, TV addict, couch potato, spectator
idler: idler, drone, lazybones, slugabed, lie-abed, loafer, lounger, couch potato, flâneur, slouch, sloucher, sluggard
Agriculture, 3000 B.C.
Potatoes are cultivated in the Andes Mountains of the Western Hemisphere
The potato, discovered in the Andes by Spanish conquistador Jiminez de Quesada, 30, will provide Europe with a cheap source of food and thus spur population growth. Quesada finds the natives eating only the largest of the tubers, which they call papas, and planting the smallest, thus steadily reducing the size of the tubers they harvest. Since the tubers are only about the size and shape of peanuts, the Spanish mistake them for a kind of truffle and call them tartuffo, which will persist with variations as the word for potato in parts of Europe.
Sir John Hawkins (see 1563) brings the potato to England, but the potato from Bogotá may be a sweet potato.
Potatoes are cultivated in so much of Europe, yield so much food per unit of land, and grow so well even in years when grain crops are at famine level that the tubers have encouraged the start of a population explosion in those parts of the continent where the new food is accepted and where the ravages of the Thirty Years' War have not totally disrupted society.
Potato crops fail in Ireland. The effect is not calamitous since the tubers do not comprise the bulk of most people's diets as they will a century hence, but Irish cotters (tenant farmers) are becoming increasingly dependent on potatoes for food while raising cereal grains and cattle for the export market that provides them with rent money. Cotters select potatoes for high-yield varieties, thus inadvertently narrowing the genetic base of their plants, breeding potatoes with little or no resistance to the fungus disease Phytophthora infestans.
Potato planting increases rapidly in northern Europe as the famine that accompanies the Seven Years' War gives impetus to potato culture.
Food Availability, 1845
Potato crops fail throughout Europe, Britain, and Ireland as the fungus disease Phytophthora infestans rots potatoes in the ground and also those in storage. Irish potatoes are even less resistant than potatoes elsewhere, so up to half the crop is lost.
Food and Drink, 1853
Potato chips are invented at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where chef George Crum of Moon's Lake House gives a mocking response to a patron who has complained that his French fries are too thick. He shaves some potatoes paper thin and sends them out to the customers- who are delighted, order more, and encourage Crum to open a restaurant of his own across the lake. Crum's new restaurant will take no reservations and millionaires including Jay Gould and Commodore van Derbilt (see 1853) will stand in line along with everyone else.
hot potato (hòt pe-tA´tÖ) noun
A problem that is so controversial or sensitive that those handling it risk unpleasant consequences: gun control- a political hot potato.
potato chip (pe-tA´tÖ
A thin slice of potato fried in deep fat until crisp and then salted. Often used in the plural.
. . . does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is
peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.
Alan Watts (1915-73), British-born U.S. philosopher, author. The Way of Zen, pt. 2, ch. 2 (1957).
hash browns (hàsh brounz) plural noun
Chopped cooked potatoes, fried until brown. Also called hash brown potatoes.
Fluorescent GM potatoes say 'water
by News Online's Damian Carrington
A potato genetically-modified withjellyfish genes which glows when it needs watering is created by Edinburgh scientists.
The fluoresence is produced by a gene taken originally from a jellyfish.
This activated in the plant by the production of abscisic acid, which the plants uses to rearrange its cells to prepare for a shortage of water.
However, Professor Tony Trewavas from the University of Edinburgh, is aware of some people's concern about GM crops.
He told BBC News Online: "People are worried, but these potatoes will never enter the food chain. They are sentinels and would be put in separately and harvested separately."
Speaking at the British Association's Festival of Science in Sheffield, UK, Professor Trewavas said that just sowing eight plants per hectare would allow a farmer to monitor the whole field.
The potatoes will not glow to the human eye however. The light is produced by absorbing a narrow wavelength of blue light, which is re-emitted as yellow.
A small detector, built by the Scottish Agricultural College, spots the yellow light and sets off a green signal which says "water me". If no signal is showing, then the plants have enough water.
"The problem at the moment is that farmers don't know how much water is needed - they just pour it on," said Professor Trewavas.
"We believe our system would save farmers about £270 per hectare in terms of reduced water use and reduced fertiliser applied.
"You don't have to put as much nitrate on if you don't over-water and run off lots of your minerals."
Experiments so far have been confined to greenhouses and it will be about six years before the glowing potatoes go on sale.
Future plans are to include slightly different fluorescent proteins which will report on the plants' nitrate, phosphate and sucrose status.
"Probably the single most important group of plants used by mankind to contact the supernatural belongs to the order Solanaceae (the potato family). Hallucinogenic members of this group are widespread in both the Old and New worlds. Besides the potato, tomato, chile pepper, and tobacco, the family includes a great number of species of the genus Datura, which are called by a variety of names, such as Jimson weed, devil's apple, thorn apple, mad apple, the devil's weed, Gabriel's trumpet, and angel's trumpet, and are all hallucinogenic. Datura has been used widely and apparently from ancient times in shamanism, witchcraft, and the vision quest in Europe, Asia, Africa, and among American Indian tribes. Other hallucinogens in the potato family closely resembling Datura in their effects include mandrake (Mandragora), henbane (Hyoscyamus), and belladonna, or deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna). Plants of this group are found in both temperate and tropical climates, and on all continents."
- _Hallucinogens and Shamanism_ a collection of essays edited by Michael J. Harner
film _The Empire Strikes Back_ (vhs/ntsc) (1980)
In the asteroid field sequence, one of the asteroids is actually a potato.
"karoffel" means "potatoes" in Nadsat,
used in the film _A
Clockwork Orange_ (1971)directed
film _The Tin Drum_
directed by Volker Schlöndorff
_Two Cars In Every Garage And Three Eyes On Every Fish_ (avi)(52.8megs) [Aired November 1, 1990] Season 2/Episode 1
Vermont Review interview with Jerry Casale of Devo - August 5, 2003
VR: How does the potato fit into your thoughts of devolution?
JC: The potato is a staple that keeps us alive. It is totally unglamorous and underrated. It is also a conductor of electricity. You know that they teach you in science class how to make potatoes transmitters and potato radio receivers. They have all eyes around.
VR: So your theory of devolution does not suggest that we are all going to devolve into potatoes?
JC: No, the potato is symbol of our humble beginnings.