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Why did the French pass a law against potatoes in the 1700s? What insight did human beings glean from wild animals about how to consume poisonous potatoes? And what’s the secret to a recipe for mashed potatoes that aren’t lumpy or gluey? Justin Dodd will answer those questions and more in this pilot episode of Food History.

Punnet square partisans and Peruvian potato-lovers will probably want to peruse. You’ll learn about early mashed potato recipes and about the many years of food science that go into instant mashed potatoes.

Food History is a new series from Mental Floss where we dive deep into the culinary stories that lead to the food on our plates. If you have an idea for a dish, cooking technique, or cuisine that you’d like us to explore in a future episode, tell us in the comments.
For more tips on the creamiest mashed potato recipe, check out this video from Food & Wine: https://youtu.be/zEAIhiRgisk. And for the origins of many other foods, check out our episode of the List Show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mTprTFfbuk

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