tubular trivia roundup

i heart literati

Time to round up obliquely tube-related trivia, including potato zealots, vegetable toys, consumption, aqueducts, and Captain America…

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1. Born in 1737, Antoine-Auguste Parmentier is a man known mostly for potatoes. Let me back up: in the mid-1700s, for reasons I can’t precisely figure but am sure were spurious, the French abhorred potatoes. The tuber was suitable only for hogs, had no nutritive value, was bland, flatulence-inducing, lust-inducing, Protestant, and carried leprosy (in other countries potatoes were seen as harbingers of Catholicism; they were new to Europe and a symbol of the outsider). In fact, so hated were potatoes in France that their cultivation was outlawed in 1748.

Parmentier, examining Parmentier, examining

Parmentier was an apothecary in training recruited to the military when the seven years war broke out in 1756. He was captured by the Prussians five separate times. Huge potato fans, the Prussians fed their French prisoners…

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