[Sca-cooks] Yams was Substitute for Potatoes?

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Mon Aug 24 12:40:38 PDT 2009

> >On Aug 23, 2009, at 11:13 PM, Solveig Throndardottir wrote:
>>>Noble Cousin!
>>>Greetings from Solveig! Potatoes are from Peru. However, there are a 
>>>number of old world tubers available such as yams Dioscorea species which 
>>>originated in West Africa and Asia.
>>>Your Humble Servant
>>>Solveig Throndardottir
>>>Amateur Scholar
>>Yes, and I fully intend to use yams in my Period cooking.
> Off hand, I can't think of any recipes in either the period European or 
> Islamic corpus that use them. I don't even know if there is any evidence 
> that they were used in the  parts of the world from which we have 
> surviving cookbooks.
> You might want to check the Rehla of Ibn Battuta for references--he 
> visited both east and west Africa in the 14th century.
> -- 
> David/Cariadoc
> www.daviddfriedman.com

Columbus's journal of the first voyage (1492-93) references yams several 
times, but I see no evidence of yams being prepared in Europe.  I don't 
recall any references in Pliny or other authors that would suggest yams were 
well known in Antiquity.  Since the term, yam, appears to be derived from a 
West African language, it's likely that yams came to the attention of Europe 
as the Portuguese expanded along the West African coast and probably were 
not incorporated into the European diet.

I suspect, but have not verified, that edible yams may not grow well in 


More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list