You Truffel You

Article published on Sept. 6, 2006
Article published on Sept. 6, 2006

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

Little love is lost between Germans and Italians. Germans often deride Italians as those "Spaghettis" while Italians dismiss the "Kartoffeln"(potatoes) in Germany.

Of course, Germany without potatoes is like Australia without kangaroos. Potatoes actually orginated in the Andes mountain region of South America. The Inca cultivated "patatas" for hundreds of years until the Spanish invasion. The vegetable then resurfaced across the Atlantic in croquettes and other delectable dishes. The Inca word, patatas, is still with use: "patates" is French slang for potatoes and the English word potato is practically its twin.

When the potato landed in Italy, the locals didn't know what to make of it and dubbed it "tartufolo" since it did look a bit like a truffel. By the time "tartufolo" made it across the Alps, the Germans understandably

renamed it "Kartoffeln."

Now where's the Italian who can call a German "Kartoffeln" with a straight face?