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air date: 1/16/13 9:30 AM
On two occasions the potato, which originated in South America, changed the course of world history. The first time was when it fed the great Inca Empire and the Spanish explorers who conquered it. The second was when it arrived in Europe, fed an expanding population that provided the workers for the Industrial Revolution, and allowed a small group of Northern European nations to dominate the world for over 200 years. This program looks at the details behind these stories: how the potato became a hidden food that saved people during times of war, how it changed the way people farmed, caused a population explosion in Ireland and then destroyed millions of Irish farmers. We'll discover when the French fry arrived in America and how it got turned into a chip.
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