Antoine Parmentier was a major-apothecary in the French Army during the Seven Years War (XVIIIth century). After having been captured, he was sent to a prison in Hanover where he had the occasion to study a plant virtually unknown to him: Potato.

Potatoes had been imported from America several decades ago, but still suffered from bad reputation throughout Europe - except in Prussia, where Frederick II had imposed their cultivation and consumption to entreat the appalling devastations of endemic famines on his people.

Back in France, Antoine Parmentier published several studies on the subject and became potato's most prominent advocate, laudating both its gustative and nutritive qualities. The virtues of Potato were definitely accepted after Parmentier won a contest organized by the university of Besancon after the terrible famine of winter 1769.

You may think you couldn't care less about this guy. You're wrong. Antoine Parmentier initiated a wave of enthusiasm for the pomme de terre which resulted directly into the invention of several potato-based dishes, including (but not limited to) Hachis Parmentier, Omelette Parmentier, and Pommes Sautées - more commonly known as French fries.

You get it? Next time you fill your hungry stomach with those crispy, delicious French fries (hmm, yummy), please, have a little thought for Mr Parmentier.

Oh - and don't forget: French fries are better with mayonnaise!

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