Perhaps not the sexiest thing to come out of the ground, the potato is widely considered a staple, cheap “unsexy” crop. However just as Antoine-Augustin Parmentier did before us (an influential advocator for potatoes in Europe in the 1700s – read more on the noble pharmacist synonymous with potatoes below), we are on a mission to switch up your view on this humble winter ingredient! In February, we’re shining a deserved spotlight on potato by elegantly weaving all kinds of local varieties through each course of our seasonal degustation.
Potato is the world’s fourth largest food crop, following rice, wheat, and maize. The Inca Indians in Peru were the first to cultivate potatoes around 8,000 BC to 5,000 BC. The first potato patches in North America were established in 1719 in Derry, New Hampshire by Irish immigrants and from there, the crop spread across the country.
Someone who appreciated the value of the potato is Antoine-Augustin Parmentier (1737 – 1813), a vocal promoter of the ingredient as a food source for people in France and throughout Europe. Yet the circumstances in which Parmentier became acquainted with the potato were rather grim. He was captured by the Prussians and imprisoned during the Seven Years’ War, where he was fed potatoes, known to the French as animal feed. However upon his release, he campaigned to change public perception of potato via a series of ‘potato publicity stunts’ including hosting ingredient-themed dinners (ahem, sound familiar?) for luminaries such as Benjamin Franklin, Antoine Lavoisier and the King and Queen.
Fast-forward to February 2016 and we’re working on a menu that we hope would make potato advocate Antoine-Augustin Parmentier proud! With interesting large, small, long, fat, purple, red, brown and white varieties locally available, we’re excited to take the potato from simply comforting to exquisite.
Reservations for February's Potato Menu open on 1st January 2016.