I was interested to read the article in the “Source” section of the Nov. 16 newspaper. Meg Ragland writes that the nickname “spud” for potato was the name of the tool used to uproot potatoes.

There is another reason for the potato nickname of “spud,” according to Helen Hamlin’s book, “Pine, Potatoes and People,” written in the 1940s. After potatoes were exported from the Americas to Europe, Hamlin wrote, they were grown extensively in Ireland, but suffered a setback in England. Wheat growers there feared the new diet staple and organized the “Society for the Prevention of Unwholesome Diet.” It was such a successful campaign that the society’s initials — (S.P.U.D.) — became a nickname for the potato.

Linda Chandler

Skowhegan

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.