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Potato Potentate Passes Peacefully May 26, 2008

Posted by skinbad in Economics, Food.

Titan of Tubers

Monarch of Mashed

Sovereign of Starch

Ruler of Roots

The 99-year-old King of the Spudders passed away Sunday. Pretty much a self-made man, although he probably owes something to the wild horses he shot to feed his hogs at an early age:

In 1923, he left home at age 14 with four $20 gold coins given to him by his mother. He paid $1 a day for room and board at Declo’s only hotel.

As a shrewd young businessman, Simplot bought interest-bearing scrip paid to teachers who were also boarding there for 50 cents on the dollar. He used it for collateral on a bank loan to buy 600 hogs at $1 each.

He spent the winter shooting wild horses, selling the hides and boiling the meat with potato scraps to feed the hogs.

When pork prices jumped the next year, he brought some rare fat hogs to market for a whopping $7,500.

That was Simplot’s stake for the potato business.

He supplied dried potatoes and vegetables to U.S. troops during WWII and later cut a deal with Ray Kroc to supply McDonalds with potatoes for french fries and hash browns. His estimated worth was $3.2 billion. In his 70s, he added variety to his “chip” investments by staking Micron.

Late into his life, the former McDonald’s board member drove his white Lincoln Town Car with “Mr. Spud” vanity plates to the fast food chain [in Boise] for hash browns or french fries several times a week. 

Sounds like a character. Raise a chip to the spudders today. Mine’s sour cream and cheddar.


1. BrewFan - May 26, 2008

I’ve always thought McD’s fries were the best. I remember being emotionally crushed when I found out french fries were made out of potatos*. I just couldn’t believe it. I HATED potatos!

*No, that wasn’t last year, wisenheimers.

2. kevlarchick - May 26, 2008

Was Geezer in his will?

Brew, are you channeling Dan Quayle or something?

3. daveintexas - May 26, 2008

This is a sad day indeed. A legend has passed.

And somewhere, somewhere on those golden streets, the light of heaven fills so there is no shadow at all.

And a little beeper on the Translucent Shimmering Fry Cooker just beeped him home.

And it’s got tranfats in it too.

4. lauraw - May 26, 2008

Beef fat! The best kind of fat for frying spuds!

That’s why McD’s were so good, before the frickin’ vegans made them change.

5. The Lovely Mommy Janis - May 26, 2008

The Spud King was born in Iowa, so we’re claiming him. Nyah nyah nyah nyah.

6. Russ from Winterset - May 26, 2008

#5 was me.

7. Retired Geezer - May 26, 2008

Amazing tributes all day about the man.

Seemed like a pretty sharp guy.

Well liked.

Can’t ask for much more than that.

8. eddiebear - May 26, 2008

99 years? Dayum! I guess that shit people peddle about avoiding fast food is just that-shit.

9. BrewFan - May 27, 2008

Brew, are you channeling Dan Quayle or something?


*breaks into song…*

You spell potatoes, I spell potatos

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