Creamy Irish Potato Soup with an Ashkenazi Twist h ttps://w ww.myjewishlearning.com/the-nosher/creamy-irish-potato-soup-with-an-ashkenazi-twist/
By Ronnie Fein | Tagged: featured, nosher, Recipe, soup, St. Patrick's Day, vegetarian, winter
Yield: Serves 6
Driven by a lust for riches, the 16th-century Spanish conquistadores set out for El Dorado, a mythical kingdom of gold and plenty. What they found instead was Peru, and plenty of potatoes. And that turned out to be the real treasure.
The men brought some potato plants back home with them and the tubers became lifesavers among the poor throughout Europe from Spain to Ireland to Germany to the shtetls of Russia.
At first, potatoes were met with mixed reviews in Europe. The Scots wouldn’t eat them because they weren’t among the foods mentioned in the Bible. Potatoes only became a staple in Ireland, some say, because Sir Walter Raleigh planted them on his estate there. The French originally thought potatoes were poisonous, mostly because cooks discarded the fat, lumpy part and served the leaves, which can be toxic.
It was only after French chemist Auguste Parmentier won a contest to discover a food that would reduce “the calamities of famine” that potatoes became a staple of the French diet. And everywhere else.
To stop massive starvation among the poor in 18th-century Prussia, King Frederick II forced the peasants to plant potatoes – with consequences for those who refused. (To this day, visitors to the king’s grave in Potsdam leave potatoes as a calling card.) Empress Catherine the Great did the same in Russia, for the same reason.