Potatoes in Shakespeare

The humble spud came to Europe in the second half of the sixteenth century. It was expensive at first and seemingly endowed with aphrodisiac properties.

There are two references in Shakepeare

My doe with the black scut! Let the sky rain
potatoes; let it thunder to the tune of Green
Sleeves, hail kissing-comfits and snow eringoes; let
there come a tempest of provocation, I will shelter me here.

Merry wives of Windsor Act V scene 5.  Here Falstaff is making the moves on Mrs Ford

How the devil Luxury, with his fat rump and
potato-finger, tickles these together! Fry, lechery, fry!

Troilus and Cressida Act V scence 2  Thersites the “Scurrilous greek” makes a nob joke.

nb. These are probably both references to the sweet potato rather than the true spud. The names seem to have been confused at this period, the sweet potato is the more likely root since it was known earlier in Europe, and looks more like a nob!

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