Pommes de le Terre

Gollum: What's "taters".
Samwise Gamgee: Po-tate-toes!

Parmentier offers a bunch of potatoes to King Louis XVI.

Introduced to France in the 16th century, the potato was ill-considered by the population.

Antoine-Augustin de Parmentier (1737-1813) used a trick to have the folk accept it.
He brought a bunch of potato flowers to Versailles.

King Louis XVI adorned his dress with one flower and the whole Court followed his example.

Potato was progressively accepted in the country as its advantages were recognized by both farmers and consumers.

In her book Trianon, Elena-Marie Vidal mentions that Madame Royale enjoyed her fried potatoes at Petite Trianon, well what child doesn't like French Fries.

Catherine Delors tells us about who put the French in French Fries,

Emboldened, Parmentier proceeds to plant potatoes on a plot near the Invalides, but all he gains is the enmity of the landladies, the nuns of a nearby convent, and a dismissal from his position of Apothecary of the Invalides. He is not easily discouraged. He invites the best scientists of the time, such as Laurent Lavoisier and Benjamin Franklin, to dinners where guests are served potatoes. This is, after all, the Enlightenment, and no assumption goes unquestioned.

Official consecration comes at last. In 1785, four years before the Revolution, Louis XVI grants Parmentier two acres at the Sablons, then west of Paris, for him to grow potatoes for human consumption on a trial basis.

In a stroke of genius, Parmentier has the field heavily guarded by soldiers during daytime, and left unattended at night. Of course the neighbors soon surmise this is a particularly valuable crop, and steal plants under the cover of darkness. The following year, Parmentier heads for Versailles to present the King with a bouquet of potato flowers. Marie-Antoinette wears these simple and lovely blossoms on her hat and fine ladies follow suit. Parmentier's allotment at the Sablons is increased to 37 acres, and potatoes are now grown in the King's gardens. in a few years, thanks to Parmentier, the potato has gone from botanical pariah to the height of fashion. more...

The real name of this culinary delight is frenched fries because the potato is cut square and long.

They are of course the bane of anyone on a diet. After having been raised by an Irish mother (only one time removed from Eire) potatoes were a staple, I love them any way they are prepared, even raw. (Unfortunately all my grandchildren followmy example too, to the consternation of their moms.) They just don't grow a potato lite.

Thanks and a tipof the beret to Catherine and to Elena-Maria.


(Illustrated supplement to the Petit Journal)
Coll. Yezid Allaya. Inv. n° 97.2.1

1 comment:

elena maria vidal said...

Excellent picture! Thank you for the link!