By Jasmine Watts
I am a very picky eater, so food played a big factor in deciding where I wanted to study abroad. Here in the Europe, I knew that there’d almost always be fish and chips. (Though I don’t like fish.)
Today our tour guide, Dave, explained the history of potatoes in Ireland to us. I had no clue about the “potato blight of 1845“. Potatoes were the main source of nutrition and income for many Irish families back then. Dave said that a potatoe and glass of buttermilk could provide all the nutrients you needed. People lived off of just potatoes. That was until many potatoes became black and rotten in 1845. In 1846, they began to see the first deaths from starvation. In 1847, almost 20,000 people died a day from starvation. People started to leave Ireland and the blight finally ended in 1850. Ireland however did not get repopulated until 1853, with 3.8 million people, still 4 million less than before the blight.
Potatoes are still very rich in the Irish culture. Dave said a restaurant recently opened in Ireland that only served potatoes. I’d love to go to that restaurant and see all the ways potatoes could be cooked. I’ve gotten chips with almost every meal I’ve had here. It seems that almost every meal comes with chips, potatoe skins, or baked potatoe.
It’s interesting to see the role of certain foods in cultures. It seems that potatoes give a sense of family, togetherness, and health here. I almost feel like it would be weird to not get a form of potatoes with my meal.