This week in Mash history: Sir Walter Raleigh discovers these tubers that fry up a treat, 1588

BRITAIN would be nothing without the potato. Vegan, gluten-free and delicious, spuds are the crispy-yet-fluffy-on-the-inside bricks modern civilisation is built on. 

But less than half a century ago, our land was a stranger to this starchy gold. Stories about its arrival are shrouded in myth and rumour, with many claiming that such a blessing could only have been given by God alone.

Historians believe, however, that Sir Walter Raleigh who was the first European to discover that potatoes were bloody delicious. A ship’s log discovered at auction, which it was hoped contained details of his voyages, instead numbered hundreds of pages reflecting on the potato and only the potato.

Extracts read: “The journey to the Americas has not been a happy one. I am of delicate constutution and unsuited to a diet of dried meat and limes. The local spices do not placate me. My soul craves delicious blandness.

“One could only imagine my delight when, in my hour of need, I stumbled across the potato. I mistook it at first for a turnip or swede, the foodstuff of peasants. Little did I know I had been gifted savourless manna from heaven.

“I have postponed our return to Albion until I have assessed the extent of the potato. So far it has been prepared roasted, in a manner so holy I propose from here on they only be consumed on Sundays, to honour the Lord.

“I have a list of experiments: baking, frying, slicing thinly then cooking in a white sauce. Boiling I deduce to be the most dissatisfying form. Unless one were to, perhaps, mash a number together with a powerful Cheese.

“Each time we attempt a new method, the success is beyond imagining. Cutting into pieces resembling beams and frying replicates the ecstasy of Pentecost.

“We must return these pale miracles to the Queen at all costs. The bliss it should bring to the populi will surely cure all of society’s ills. Why would one ever seek malice when one possesses the joy of a hot, or even cold, potato?”

And so, Sir Walter began the tradition of English people being over-enthusiastic about and reliant upon potato products for their diet, and their reluctant to eat anything other than chips when abroad.

Next week: to 1931, when the Coca-Cola Company invents Christmas to boost slumping sales of its product after taking the cocaine out.

Sign up now to get
The Daily Mash
free Headlines email – every weekday

Your astrological week ahead, with Psychic Bob

Aries, March 21st–April 19th

Everybody’s seen that picture of Albert Einstein sticking his tongue out. But beneath the clownish exterior was a very intelligent man.

Taurus, April 20th–May 20th

Have you drunk enough water today? Your recommended daily intake is 55 gallons.

Gemini, May 21st–June 21st

Those baseball jackets with the leather sleeves aren’t worn when playing baseball. What are they for, then? Watching it?

Cancer, June 22nd–July 22nd

It’s time to pump Loch Ness full of high-strength weedkiller and see what comes floating up.

Leo, July 23rd–August 22nd

Your horoscope-exclusive meal deal this week is a chicken and sweetcorn Sandwich, a sour cream protein bar and a bottle of Midori.

Virgo, August 23rd–September 22nd

“A snake? Ah fuck, you have to slide down those,” you say, facing an 18ft boa constrictor.

Libra, September 23rd–October 22nd

Unfortunately ‘I think she can do better’ isn’t a good enough reason to object during a marriage ceremony.

Scorpio, October 23rd–November 22nd

The cruellest trick the Northern 1970s Satan ever played was Corporation Pop.

Sagittarius, November 22nd–December 21st

As if this middle-aged Love Island show’s going to work. As if middle-aged people give a shit who they’re married to.

Capricorn, December 22nd–January 19th

Durex called. Turns out they already have Bovril-flavoured lube in production.

Aquarius, January 20th–February 18th

Monks are nightmare neighbours. Tolling bells, keeping bees, brewing lager, up all night illuminating manuscripts. But on the bright side, you can be as prejudiced as you like about fucking monks.

Pisces, February 19th–March 20th

Kids and grown ups love him so, the happy world of Dr No.