Just when we'd forgotten 2008 is the International Year of the Potato, when the death of an American entrepreneur reminds us.
J.R. Simplot, the king of the frozen French fry, died Sunday at age 99.
Fittingly, he died in Boise, Idaho, the town he helped make the home of the American potato when his company learned to dry and freeze potatoes. With that innovation, the French fry became ubiquitous in restaurants across the U.S., according to accounts in United Press International and the Los Angeles Times.
It was his Silicon Valley ventures that brought him a multi-billion-dollar fortune, but it all started with the potato.
The United Nations, in designating 2008 the International Year of the Potato, was less impressed with the French fry, or the American entrepreneurial spirit, than by the potato's role in feeding the world's poor.
That doesn't mean you can't celebrate with some fries. Be sure to lift one to Mr. Simplot, who is as responsible as McDonald's for America's favorite potato delivery method.
For more information about the International Year of the Potato (you know you want it) visit the official Web site.
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