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What We Would Have Missed If….

So many creative people are continually at work inventing more and more great things.  Just when we thought life could not be more satisfying, some new product will hit the market that we just cannot live without.  The popularity of that “something” that makes life easier is immediately a hit.  Popularity of a food means that multiple restaurants will proudly advertise that they are now serving “_____” so that the customers will not pass them by. When it is a gadget for the car, or a great addition to one’s workout equipment, or a better way to get one’s weight down or countenance brightened up… whatever it may be, if it is really good, it will do very well in the American consumerism that pervades all we are and do presently. 

There are also those things that just go together so well it is very hard to imagine that there was a time when people did not enjoy those combinations. Consider some of the food combinations that we love so much…. ice cream and hot fudge, tomato soup and grilled cheese, chips and salsa, popcorn and coke, burger and fries, etc.  One of the favorite staples of everybody was not always popular.  Consider how we came to enjoy what is likely the most eaten vegetable in America.

It is hard to believe now, but the potato was once a highly unpopular food. When first introduced into England by Sir Walter Raleigh, newspapers printed editorials against it, ministers preached sermons against it, and the general public wouldn’t touch it. It was supposed to sterilize the soil in which it had been planted and cause all manner of strange illnesses–even death.

There were, however, a few brave men who did not believe all the propaganda being shouted against it. It was seen as an answer to famine among the poorer classes and as a healthful and beneficial food. Still, these few noblemen in England could not persuade their tenants to cultivate the potato. It was years before all the adverse publicity was overcome and the potato became popular.

A Frenchman named Parmentier took a different tack. He had been a prisoner of war in England when he first heard of the new plant. His fellow prisoners protested the outrage of having to eat potatoes. Parmentier, instead, thoughtfully inquired about the methods of cultivating and cooking the new food. Upon his return to France, he procured an experimental farm from the Emperor, in which he planted potatoes. When it was time to dig them, at his own expense, he hired a few soldiers to patrol all sides of his famous potato patch during the daytime. Meanwhile he conducted distinguished guests through the fields, digging a few tubers here and there, which they devoured with evident relish. At night, he began to withdraw the guards. A few days later one of the guards hastened to Parmentier with the sad news that peasants had broken into the potato patch at night and dug up most of the crop.

Parmentier was overjoyed, much to the surprise of his informant, and exclaimed, “When the people will steal in order to procure potatoes, their popularity is assured.”  (Copied).

There is a staple that is likely more common than the potato.  Bread!  Wherever one goes in the world, there is some form of bread eaten.  In the most primitive cultures to the finest eating establishments, bread will be found.  It was bread that is and was so popular worldwide that Jesus used to present Himself as necessary for life, and the symbol of His sacrifice.  “I am the Bread of Life”.  “This bread is my body offered for you.  Do this in remembrance of Me.”  Wherever people may be found, bread is found.  What they need most is not just the bread made by hands, but the Bread of Life to give them life forever!