Antoine Augustin Parmentier played a very important role in the
democratization of potato consumption, something so basic now.
At the beginning, specificity of South America and more
precisely of Peru, the potato is brought to Europe during the 16th century. But
nobody believes in this small and unequal sphere, with strange taste, growing
like a carrot but being different.
Parmentier made chemical studies but the great famines present
in the European continent during the 17th century led him to develop
an interest into agrochemicals and food security. He discovers the nutritional
wonders of potatoes during a trip in Germany, and decided to distribute the
consumption in France, where wheat crisis decimates thousands of people.
He tried several ways to convince nobles and commoners of the
potatoes’ values, especially by organizing gigantic feasts entirely made of
potato, but nothing changes.
This is finally tricking that Parmentier achieves to bring in potato in mores of French consumption. He decided to cultivate a field of potatoes at the edge of Paris. Supervised by day, French people saw a much protected field: the value contained in should be important to be so well protected! The interest for this strange plant escalated in their eyes. But when the field was unattended, it was open to every rascal came to steal the treasure protected by guards during the day… That is how the negative image of the potato changed in France and how the plant entered into French’s consumption habits until today.