Potatoes are the world’s fourth most important food crop, yet they were unknown to most of humanity before 1500. Feeding the People traces the global journey of this popular foodstuff from the Andes to everywhere. The potato’s global history reveals the ways in which our ideas about eating are entangled with the emergence of capitalism and its celebration of the free market. It also reminds us that ordinary people make history in ways that continue to shape our lives. Feeding the People tells the story of how eating became part of statecraft, and provides a new account of the global spread of one of the world’s most successful foods.
Rebecca Earle is a professor in the Department of History at the University of Warwick.