Here's why St. Patrick never ate potatoes

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No food is associated more with Ireland than with the potato. Every year, as Irish pride swells around St. Patrick & # 39; s Day, chefs across America line up to create a range of potato-based dishes that are meant to bring cultural memories of the Old Country to recall. But for St. Patrick himself, all those hoes would not have looked that Irish at all – because the patron saint of Emerald Island had been dead for over a thousand years before the first potato found its way to Ireland. 17 things you didn't know about Guinness One reason why St. Patrick is so loved is because his missionary work was in Ireland whole long ago – during the fifth century, although the exact dates of the saint's life are uncertain. The saint was probably not a glutton, but between baptizing thousands of fresh believers and arguing with local kings about the new religion, he probably should have sat down for a bite at some point – and would have come across a dish of bacon and cabbage, although it is less likely that he has encountered a corned beef. But many other aspects of a traditional St. Patrick & # 39; s Day party had been completely impossible in Patrick's time – including dishes like colcannon, shepherd & # 39; s pie, potato pancakes (boxty) and even Irish stew (in its current form). That's because potatoes come from South America, which means nobody everywhere in Europe even such tubers knew that the Spaniards invaded Peru in 1536. So there were no potato-filled pierogis in Poland, no fries in Belgium and also no kartoffel salat in Germany. But the new crop found its way to Ireland fairly quickly after contact with the New World, and by the end of the 18th century it had become one of the most common foods on the Emerald Island, changing Irish cuisine forever. However, there is a dark side, unfortunately: Exploitation by landowners meant that the poor in Ireland in the 1840s were almost completely dependent on the crop, and that a potato disease caused a notorious famine that killed one million people and led another million to die. Many of them emigrate to the United States. So even if St. Patrick didn't know anything about potatoes, that doesn't mean they aren't an essential part of Irish history and culture. There is no reason not to frolic with the saint's name day, whether you enjoy one of the best restaurant offers in St. Patrick's Day or celebrate in one of the best Irish pubs in America.