People living on its slopes have been eating potatoes for time out of mind. Stone tools and preserved potato peels show that wild potatoes were being prepared for food in southern Utah and south-central Chile nearly 13, years ago; similar evidence dates their domestication from at least BCE on the northern coast of Peru. They formed an important part of the diet of many of the cultures inhabiting the kilometers between Utah and Chile. Together with foods such as quinoa and maize, they provided a robust, starchy backbone to cuisines also enriched with chile peppers, beans and other vegetables.
One difficulty with potatoes is that they are difficult to store. Anyone who has ever lost track of a bag of potatoes knows this. They have an unfortunate tendency to send forth a tangle of roots, and, worse, rot into a foul-smelling puddle. Andean peoples solved this problem by freeze-drying. Exposing potatoes to the intense cold of the high mountains transforms them into little fists of stone, immune to decay. The technique also neutralizes the poisonous glycoalkaloids present in some of the bitter varieties, allowing these to be eaten safely.
If the potato-rocks are trampled underfoot like petrified grapes, it is possible to reduce them to a dry powder that lasts for years. Europeans were however slow in adopting it themselves; it was left to industrial manufacturers in the 20th century to bring us Smash and other commercially produced instant mashed potatoes.
Because potatoes were an essential part of the daily diet in the Andean world, their cultivation was a matter of importance. Various rituals helped ensure an abundant harvest. One account from 16th-century Peru describes the festivities that marked the inauguration of the planting season in the mountain village of Lampa. Local dignitaries seated themselves on carpets to watch the proceedings. A procession of richly attired attendants accompanied the seed potatoes, which were carried by six men making music on drums. Events culminated with the sacrifice of a particularly beautiful llama, whose blood was immediately sprinkled on the potatoes.
Comparable practices not necessarily involving llama blood persist to the present day. Spanish priests objected strongly to these ceremonies but were often powerless to prevent them. The Andean writer Felipe de Guaman Poma de Ayala described the agricultural potato cycle in an extraordinary manuscript that he composed in the early 17th century, after the arrival of Europeans.
The son of indigenous nobility, Guaman Poma was born shortly after the Spanish conquest of his homeland. Late in his life he was moved to recount the history that he had to some extent witnessed first-hand. It also described the ritual calendars of both Christian and Incaic religions, and the agricultural tasks carried out each month. Several show the labor required to cultivate the essential potato. Digging sticks in hand, a man and woman weed the field in the picture for June, while a second woman ports a heavy sack away for storage.
Other drawings depict men and women at work sowing seed potatoes and tending the abundant plants. Unlike maize, which held a high status within the Inca state, potatoes were considered a lowly food, necessary but banal. Along the Andes, maize was used to brew the all-important chicha or aqha , the corn beer that accompanied virtually every important political encounter.
Potatoes played no comparable role in high diplomacy; for Andeans as for us, they were ordinary things. For these reasons, potatoes did not enjoy the intense state ritual lavished on the maize crop. The Inca himself participated every year in a symbolic maize-planting ceremony, to the accompaniment of music and song. No such imperial oversight was bestowed on potatoes. Cultivated a village level, they were traded and consumed within more local orbits, their growth fostered by smaller rituals such as the one that took place centuries ago in Lampa, where the sprinkling of llama blood on seed potatoes distressed the Catholic cleric.
All potatoes nonetheless benefitted from the attention of the Potato Mother, Axomama, daughter of the earth goddess Pachamama, and sister to Saramama, the Maize Mother. As these names suggest, Andean potato language and cosmology are rich in feminine reproductive power. Plant breeders, perhaps unwittingly, replicate this vocabulary when they speak of the mother tubers from which all potato plants derive.
Household shrines to Pachamama and her fertile daughters balanced state-level neglect of potatoes. The veneration of this feminine dynasty long pre-dated the official rituals of the Inca empire, and persists to the present. For Andean farmers, human history and human bodies were entangled with these plants and the broader universe.
That is my guess, because that's how I am. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Several years ago, I worked at an art gallery here in Anchorage. More often than not, I just chatted up the customers, who were from all over the world. One night, four elderly people wandered in. The isla Several years ago, I worked at an art gallery here in Anchorage. The island was occupied for a long five years; an experience to which they had all been witnesses.
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At that moment, Guernsey was marked in my mind. Beginning early in London, Juliet Ashton, a British writer, and former war journalist, is emerging from the ashes of the war to rebuild her life and her identity. She has lost her home and all her possessions, most regrettably her book collection. Out of the blue, she responds to correspondence started by a resident of Guernsey, who has managed to obtain a second-hand book once owned by Juliet, in which she had long ago written her name and address. Through this initial contact, Juliet meets an entire community, and the course of her life is redirected.
Shaffer and Barrow skillfully use this medium to successfully establish their characters and a solid storyline. Yet, it is unflinching in its wartime recollections. The deprivations and devastation of the time are imaginatively and convincingly conveyed. At its core, this is a book about the love of reading, and the magic of books. View all 35 comments. Shelves: reviews , in-goodreaders-we-trust. It brought a few questions to my mind. Juliet writes in one of her letters: "Dear Sidney, What an inspired present you sent kit - red satin tap shoes covered with sequins" Didn't Sidney know what present he had sent?
If you had to resort to sentences like these to speak what you wanted to, didn't you realize that the letter format and your writing didn't go well together?
St. Patrick's Day potato recipes from colcannon to quiche
Learning from your bad example, I will quit trying to be fancy, stop this letter here and write a regular review. A Reader. Juliet is a something writer living in London. She is like this perfect human being who is universally loved. The only people who dislike even the smallest thing about her are the evil people.
One day she receives a letter from a man living on Guernsey islands who found her address on a second hand book he had. Soon Juliet is exchanging letters with the members of Guernsey literary society and people talk about what books they like and why. Then suddenly everyone forgets about the books and Guernsey people start sharing their most intimate experiences from the time during the world war with Juliet, who is only a stranger. A few weeks later Juliet goes to the Guernsey islands to meet and interview these people.
Of course everyone there just loves her except the evil woman. She stays there for a few months and decides to adopt a four year old orphan girl she met there. The girl of course loves Juliet more than the people who have raised her. And then Juliet marries a pig farmer and settles down on the Guernsey islands. So much for the ridiculous plot. I should have just known better, just look at the cheesy title. However, all the characters in this book seem to talk in exactly the same manner. Be it an accomplished writer from the city of London or farmers from a remote island, their letters sound just the same.
Irrespective of whether the letters are being written to a close friend or to a complete stranger. Almost all of the characters have only a single trait. For some of the characters I can't recall even a single distinct characteristic. Mary Ann tries to have everything in one book. She has grazed the surface of numerous topics like books, world war, art, nature love, bucolic life, friendship, love, homosexuality, religion and so on. None of these get more than a superficial treatment.
Stories about Nazi occupation of Guernsey don't tell you anything real about the war. They just revolve around this saint of a woman who died during the war while trying to show-off her heroism. To add to this drama, halfway through the book Mary Ann shifted the focus to Juliet trying to decide between different love interests too many people love her, you know. Why is this book being marketed a historical novel?
Another one of those recent successful books that everyone is raving about. I don't get it. View all comments. Gretchen Thank you for this review. It saved me the trouble of writing it. Mar 20, PM. Ann Borchers I loved this book! It was a great mixture of wonderful characters, the tragedy of war and still some humor! Although the abrupt ending frustrated me, the rest of the book was so soothing.
This is probably due to the fact it was written in letters to loved ones and not the subject matter itself, as it focuses heavily on the atrocities of WWII. Also, it's a book about books! Nothing makes me happier than reading a book about why reading is wonderful. I read this because I watched and loved the Netflix adaptation yes, I'm that monster who sometimes watches adaptations before reading the source material. I think I may have liked the movie slightly more, not that this was bad or anything. So if you liked the book, I recommend the movie and vice versa! View all 10 comments. Jul 20, Melissa rated it liked it Shelves: historical-fiction , , predictable.
How delightful if that were true. What do you get when you combine a roast pig dinner, an unavoidable lie and the most unappetizing pie? Born from the quick thinking of a woman caught out after curfew and continued initially to thwart suspicion from the German occupation, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society took on a life of its own, becoming a salvation to the people of the small channel island during WWII.
Providing hope, friendship and for some, a new-found love for books. An epistolary novel one told entirely through letters and telegrams , The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society picks up post-war, in , relaying bits and pieces from the lives of what can only be described as a witty cast. The bulk of the story is carried by Juliet, sharing her humor and reverie with childhood friends and the people she comes to care for in Guernsey.
In a twist of fate, that very book found its way from London to Guernsey, becoming a treasured tome to the new owner. With their words and stories of survival, the people of Guernsey lure Juliet to their picturesque island. This is not what I would consider a literary tour-de-force by any means; especially where WWII fiction is concerned. Like Juliet, I found myself smitten with the people of Guernsey—one of my favorite letters penned by a reluctant society attendee, turned full-fledged poetry reader, all to impress the woman who eventually becomes his wife.
The back half of the story is much less compelling than the first. With Juliet on the island, the variety of voices from Guernsey are lost, and for some reason, so is her enchanting nature. For me, the story went from colorful to drab, finishing with an untimely and honestly, unfounded question. To be fair, this is one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to loves stories, so take my thoughts for what they are—the ramblings of a self-proclaimed picky reader. With that said, there is something all too charming about a book that pays homage to the written word—highlighting the fact that even in some of the bleakest moments, books wield the power to bring people together.
View all 42 comments. Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Schaffer - image from from chrestomanci. The story is told via a series of letters exchanged between residents of the island and a writer attempting to learn about their experiences. We are offered a wide range of characters, some warm and charming, some extremist bu Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Schaffer - image from from chrestomanci.
We are offered a wide range of characters, some warm and charming, some extremist buffoons, some heroic, some not so heroic. The core of the story is Elizabeth, a particularly brave and wonderful individual. She is the emotional heart of the tale, as the many characters all have some experience that relates to her.
Another important aspect is how all the characters relate around literature. From the film - image from Amazon Shaffer offers us a charming and wide-ranging palette of humanity trying their best to cope under very trying circumstances. As someone who knew very little about the occupation of the Channel Islands, I found it educational as well as a fun read.
It reminds one of Alexander McCall Smith, not, clearly, for the specifics of the location, but for the warmth of the authorial tone. The writers clearly care about their characters and this place the way that Smith hovers lovingly over his imagined Botswana. Sit back and enjoy. From the film - image from Amazon The film is available on Netflix. View all 43 comments. Once again I find myself reading ten pages of a book which is meant to be 'great' and wondering why it is just rubbish. I was meant to read this for a book club but it was about as palatable as a potato peel pie so I spat it out uneaten.
Now, I'm sure there are American authors who can write in an authentic British voice no one springs to mind, and Elizabeth George is terrible at it but at least her plot is not clunky but Mary Ann Shaffer isn't one of them. This book has an epistolary plot that Once again I find myself reading ten pages of a book which is meant to be 'great' and wondering why it is just rubbish.
This book has an epistolary plot that just goes clunk clunk clunk. Firstly, it is set in London in where we meet a fairly posh author who, rather than using the polite and rather stilted language that people used in sounds like Sex in the City circa I mean, come on, Mary Ann, have you ever even read a letter from ?
So, you have letters flying around in which sound like they were written sixty years later. How are you meant to get into this? Then of course, a man in Guernsey writes to this author woman, says he has found a book with her name and address written on the flyleaf, there are currently no books in Guernsey, can she procure him some from London?
Of course the lady author sends this poor man in Guernsey some books and writes him long letters.
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As if. Note to Americans: posh English authors in would not have been quite this effusive to a person who wasn't even a fan of her books. Obviously this clunky device is meant to start a stupid story going about this guy in Guernsey telling her all about his experiences when the Nazi's invaded Guernsey. Save me. All about as authentic as a Hallmark movie about the Nazis. This book reminded me of the children's American Girl series which take periods in history, and have a girl heroine who gives a personal and hightly sanitized view of American history, but does a fairly good job seeing as the audience for these books is 6 to 10 year olds.
But this book is meant to be for adults. This is WWII lite. Take this quote: "I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? This sums up the tone of this tome. Twee beyond endurance. I'm in favor of: -pig farmers as romantic leads -parrots named Zenobia who eat cuckoo clocks -women who do the asking I'm not in favor of: -strong silent types as romantic leads -adorable children -parrots getting more page time than goats.
View all 18 comments. Shelves: general-fiction , i-reviewed-this-bad-boy , it-made-me-cry , recommended-for-women , Gush, gush, gush, gush, gush, gush, gush!!! So yes, clearly I loved this book. However, if you have the ability to find joy and delight in the simple pleasures of a feel-good book, you too m Gush, gush, gush, gush, gush, gush, gush!!! However, if you have the ability to find joy and delight in the simple pleasures of a feel-good book, you too might fall in love with this story. The book is written entirely in an epistolary format, consisting of letters back and forth between Juliet Ashton, a young author in London and several of her contacts and friends.
It is just after WWII and people are trying to reclaim their lives and figure out if and how to move on from the tragedy of the war. But anyway, Dawsey Adams of Guernsey acquires a used book that had originally been owned by Juliet. Before long, Juliet is corresponding regularly with Mr. Adams and several other Guernsey residents, all who had been a part of the Literary Society. She learns that the Society was initially formed as a front to explain a broken curfew but eventually became a rewarding opportunity to meet with friends and discuss a love of books.
Eventually, Juliet travels to Guernsey to meet her island pen friends and it was hard for me to put the book down and get any work done! I subscribe to the belief that letter-writing is a lost art form and appreciate books that are heavy on the letters and found the format enjoyable and easy to approach. There is also a very sweet love story in between these pages that made me sigh with contentment when the book ended.
It was a highly satisfying read and I think that most book lovers would also enjoy this story. What if my words misled them?
The Tale of the Wonderful Potato - Wikipedia
Peter Port rising up from the sea on terraces, with a church on the top like a cake decoration, and I realized that my heart was galloping. As much as I tried to persuade myself it was the thrill of the scenery, I knew better. It has nothing to do with me. I had a cowardly impulse to throw my red cape overboard and pretend I was someone else. So yes, I loved this book. It was beautiful and charming and a sheer delight to read. View all 27 comments. I loved this book - it's on my favorites shelf. So obviously I recommend it! In my March buddy read with Trish which kind of disintegrated because she raced ahead and finished the whole book in like one day :p I was impressed with how well the authors melded actual historical facts about the island of Guernsey during WWII, and people's wartime experiences, with the novel's storyline.
I could see the seams a little - interesting true stories and anecdotes tend to show up in the book as rand I loved this book - it's on my favorites shelf. I could see the seams a little - interesting true stories and anecdotes tend to show up in the book as random people's letters to the main character, Juliet - but I have to say overall I still enjoyed this book thoroughly.
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While it deals with some harrowing experiences, it does so with a fairly light hand, which some readers may roll their eyes at, but others will appreciate. It tends toward the "cozy" type of read, which isn't a bad thing in my book. There's a rich cast of characters, just a touch of romance, and some truly delightful humor. I'll definitely reread this a third time someday. This historical fiction novel is set shortly after WWII, with frequent wartime stories being related in letters between the characters.
Through these letters this is an epistolary novel , we follow Juliet Ashton, a fairly successful author of a British humor column, who is searching for a new topic to write about, and trying to decide what to do with her life and her boyfriend. She gets a letter out of the blue from a man on Guernsey Island, Dawsey Adams, who saw her name in a book and asks her for the name of a London bookshop, and tells her a little about his local book group, the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. One letter leads to another, both from Dawsey and others on Guernsey, and gradually Juliet finds out more about her new friends on the island, what they experienced during the German WWII occupation of the island of Guernsey a few years before, and how their book club was formed and got its name.
When she decides to go visit Guernsey and her pen pal friends there - upsetting her current boyfriend in the process - her life gradually becomes intertwined with theirs. This book includes some fun and often quirky characters, quite a bit of interesting and sometimes harrowing WWII history, a love for literature, frequent humor, and just a little bit of romance.
View all 61 comments. Our faces always give us away. Now, this work and yours truly have been through a stormy relationship. However, I recently watched a documentary about the Channel Islands and I took it as a sign. And I am very happy to tell you that it is a delightful, meaningful novel.
It protects the reader from awkward dialogue and repetition. The story in a nutshell. Juliet is a rather successful writer who desires to finally write something that will be fulfilling to her aspirations. A letter of chance by Dawsey, a resident of Guernsey, brings the literary society with the astonishing name and the special background to her attention and what was meant to be a simple research becomes a journey of self-discovery. I love the way the setting and the era come alive through the pages of this book. We are in and the island is trying to recover from the consequences of the German occupation.
Juliet is going through a similar situation. She fights against dark memories, against prejudices and discriminations and bossy men who think she is incapable of producing a serious work just because she is a woman. The islanders want to be taken seriously.
So, Juliet and Guernsey have much in common. Their thoughts and feelings are vividly shown and the reader has the chance to feel a part of both stories. People so different and yet so similar, brought together by the primal need to survive and the unique love for reading. A society that starts as an excuse to fool the Kommandantur becomes a haven, a shelter for the islanders who derive strength from heroes and heroines of tales. William Shakespeare.
The process of how people who had little to no association with books become dedicated readers was a joy to witness. We have the sympathetic ones and those who suffocate the others because of their beliefs and their ego. And, of course, we have Juliet who is such a fascinating heroine, full of life and endless determination.
I loved her from the very first letter. So, if character development is one of your concerns regarding this novel, fear not. You will come to know quite a few exciting people, you will love them while others will give you some trouble. Just as in real life. What is this term, anyway? There are well-written stories and badly written ones and many times, the most poignant tales are the ones that spring from togetherness and coincidences.
They are told in a simple manner, in beautiful, quirky and sometimes sad prose. What could be more memorable than that? No pseudo-philosophical gimmicks or cheap sentimentalism but reality. With that Emily I could hear Heathcliff's pitiful cries upon the moors.
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View all 28 comments. This was one of the lovliest books I have ever read. I have read many books and seen many movies about World War II, but this one was the best. A mere 24 minutes long, The Tale of the Wonderful Potato is a schoolroom favorite in Europe, and has won the acclaim of teachers' organizations worldwide. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Categories : films Danish-language films Animated documentary films Animated short films Danish animated films Danish films Danish short films Documentary films about agriculture Potatoes Danish documentary films s documentary films animated films s short films Historical documentary film stubs.
Hidden categories: Webarchive template wayback links Articles containing Danish-language text All stub articles.