I view potatoes as one of the most humble and unassuming of vegetables. The plant itself is compact with small flowers and medium-green colored leaves. Potatoes are not particular finicky about temperature or soil composition. This afternoon I dug up a few pounds of perfect undamaged potatoes that were planted 9 months ago.
So many lives have been lost due to overreliance on potatoes as a primary source of food. I shouldn’t say overreliance because people ate what they could grow easily and store for a long time. According to www.irishpotatofamine.net, between the years 1845 and 1852, approximately 1 million people died of starvation during the Great Irish Potato Famine and another 1 million emigrated. John Muir was from Scotland and in the book “Nature Writings” he states his normal childhood supper was “…usually a boiled potato and piece of barley scone.”
Potatoes are a great source of calcium and potassium. A few years ago a man documented his experiment of only eating potatoes for 60 days. The man’s glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride numbers went down and he lost weight. Here is a link to the Q&A session from his blog: http://www.20potatoesaday.com/20_potatoes_a_day_006.htm.