Lot 29 of 373:
Parmentier on Potato Bread, 1796  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$720
$1,200 - $1,800

Pane Economico Ossia di Patata

Parmentier, Antoine-Augustin


Stamperia Locatelli



8vo. 30 pp. Original dec. engraved wrappers loosely tied-in to 3/4 morocco & tan boards, red morocco cover label lettered in gilt. First Edition. 

Scarce work on potato bread by the master of the subject. Parmentier was a French agriculturalist and apothecary who did more to popularize the potato in Europe than any other individual in its history. As a prisoner of war in Germany in the mid-18th century, Parmentier realized the nutritional value of potatoes, as they were basically the only food he was given. Bookplate of famed culinary collector Marcus Crahan to front pastedown. 

According to "The Old Foodie," "After his return to France in 1763, Parmentier had to work hard to promote the potato in the face of opposition from scientists (who said it caused leprosy), the clerics (that it provoked lust, and anyway was a Protestant vegetable), and the gourmands (it was tasteless, indelicate, and flatulent). Some poor wheat harvests helped his campaign, but in the end he succeeded with methods well-known today – making it appear covetable, and arranging celebrity endorsement. The first he achieved by having some trial plantings in the garden of the Palace of the Tuileries appear valuable by having them guarded heavily - by day only, thus ensuring the theft of plants at night. The second he did by managing to persuade Marie Antoinette to wear a posy of potato flowers in her bosom, and by hosting grand dinners with the likes of Benjamin Franklin in attendance, at which all courses from soup to liqueur were based on potatoes. Louis XVI supposedly said “France will thank you some day for having found bread (ie potatoes) for the poor”, and Parmentier actually did open up soup kitchens to feed the poor of Paris." 

Lot Amendments

Rubbing to extremities; some foxing and creases to front wrapper, small wormhole to tope of front wrapper, else very good.

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