From chips to gnocchi to saag aloo, potatoes have been around for about 6000 years and are the most popular vegetable on Earth. Globally we grow 293 million tons a year in thousands of varieties.
After discovering potatoes at the foot of the Andes, the Inca Indians were the first to cultivate them and they were brought to Europe from South America by 16th century Spanish explorers.
One story has it that the crisp was invented in 1853 by a disgruntled chef reacting to a diner who complained that his potato chips weren’t thin enough. We now eat more than 12 billion bags of crisps a year.
In the kitchen, Paul Merrett makes twice-fried chips with garlic mayo, potato pancakes and potato wedges pronto and explains why you need science – and a potato ricer - to create the perfect mash.