What's the connection between the Irish famine, Pamela Anderson and a potato museum in Peru?
Pamela Anderson is due in Ireland tomorrow to talk about how the story of the Irish famine will be told at an International Potato Museum in Peru. What the hell is going on?
Pamela Anderson’s in Ireland? How the hell is this not huge news?
Well, I should really have said that it’s not the busty, blonde Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson coming to Ireland, but Doctor Pamela Anderson, who has the rather esteemed title of Director General of the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru.
Granted, I may have misled you a little, but technically, technically, I was still telling the truth.
Oh, talk about your all-time let-downs. So what is this other Pamela Anderson doing on Irish turf?
Hey, this Pamela Anderson might lack the star power of her infinitely more famous namesake, but if you like potatoes, you won’t be disappointed.
As her title might suggest, Anderson is coming to Ireland to find out more about the Great Famine that hit Ireland in the middle of the 19th century, resulting in a population loss of about two million people due to death and emigration because of our dependence on all things spud.
By peeling back the layers of what is such an important episode in Irish history, Anderson will hope to gather enough information for an exhibit in the International Potato Museum, which is due to be built in Peru in the near future.
If there’s an international potato museum in Peru anywhere, surely it should be Ireland?
So you might think, but Peru has a longer association with the foodstuff that accompanies the majority of meals in Ireland than we do. The potato is believed to have originated in Lake Titicaca, 12,500 feet above sea level in an area that is now Peru, and has been eaten for in and around 8,000 years.
If we think we’ve a lot of spuds here, the International Potato Center in Lima alone contains over 7,000 varieties of potato, over 8,000 varieties of sweet potato and over 1,500 varieties of Andean root and tuber crops. Mash that all together, add some butter and salt and you’ve got a pretty tasty collection we think you’ll agree.
So what will Pam be doing during her stay?
She’ll be off to visit the Famine Museum in Strokestown and will be gleaning the views of various experts and historians to get a more informed view of exactly what happened in Ireland in the late 1840’s.
She’ll also be hoping to use the Irish example to help highlight some other hunger and malnutrition problems faced elsewhere around the world today.
“It’s not that there’s not enough food. There are other sets of problems that go beyond just being able to grow a crop and protect it from disease. It’s a very complex story,” Anderson is quoted as saying in The Irish Times.
“To help people understand the problems today, sometimes it’s easier to link them to a history lesson,” she added.
Nice to be able to help out in some way, I suppose. Anyway, I’m off for a plate of chips and to watch some old Baywatch episodes.
Sounds good to us.