- Potatoes were first cultivated around 8000 to 5000 BC by Inca Indians in Peru. After rice, maize and wheat, potato is the fourth world`s largest food crop. Peru was conquered in 1536 by Spanish named Conquistadors. He discovered the flavor and carried them to Europe. In 1589, Sir Walter Raleigh introduced the crop to Ireland. It took around four decades for potato to spread across the rest of Europe.
- Unfortunately, an outbreak of potato blight swept the crop across Europe wiping away the potato crop in most countries. The working class in Ireland largely depended on potato and when the potato blight reached Ireland, their staple food was cleared. This left many families in poverty stricken situation with no option but to struggle surviving or evacuate their lands. Over one million died due to starvation or disease related to lack of food. Another one million people migrated from Ireland mostly to United State or Canada.
- In 1652, potatoes arrived in the colonies after Bermuda Governor sent two large cedar chest having potatoes and some vegetables to Governor of Virginia, Francis Wyatt at Jamestown. But it was until 1719 when the first permanent patches of potatoes in North America were established around Londonderry, NH, by Scottish-Irish immigrants. The crop then spread across the entire country.
- Idaho, the then largest potato producer did not begin cultivating potatoes until 1836 when the missionaries moved west in a bid to educate native people to plant crops instead of depending upon hunting and gathering. Idaho potato industry begun to flourish in 1872 when Russet Burbank variety of potato was established.
- Hazen Titus, the 1908 railway's dining car superintendent discussed with the complaining farmers that they were unable to sell their potatoes because the crops were just too big and thus decided to fed the hogs. Many considered them unsuitable for consumption due to their un-smooth and thick skin making them a bit hard to prepare as a meal.
- Fortunately, Titus and his colleagues discovered that the uneatable crop were delicious when slowly baked in an oven. He then decided to buy potatoes in a large quantity as possible as the farmers produced over two pounds heavy. In the beginning of 1909, North Coast Limited was given baked potatoes for dinner just immediately when the first delivery was made.
- The rumors of the line's specialty offering baked potato spread very fast that for a short time the great big baked potato slogan was being used to encourage the railroad's passenger service. A reporter in 1914, when an additional Northern Pacific Seattle commissary was being built, once jotted down that a huge trade mark having a shape of baked potato surmounted the roof. The writer continued by writing that, the eyes of the potato are electric lighted and are constantly winking due to the electric mechanism. Numerous premiums like letter openers, spoons and postcards were made purposely to help sell the slogan, "Path of the Great Baked Potato".
Baked Potatoes With Chicken And Tomato is an image courtesy of Apolonia at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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