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Have we always had sweet potatoes in Britain?

(11 Posts)
someoneorother Sat 01-Nov-14 17:39:54

My wife gave me a shopping list for LIDL as she often does on a Saturday. This time she asked me to get a couple of sweet potatoes, fairly small, and if they were a reasonable price. Since I've never bought a sweet potato in my life, I didn't know what to look for, or what condition they should be in.

I commented that as far as I knew they weren't around when I was a kid (70s and 80s). She comes from the south of USA where they are normal.

So, have sweet potatoes always been available in UK greengrocers?

stargirl1701 Sat 01-Nov-14 17:41:55

I certainly didn't eat them as a child but I don't know if they were available to buy.

AhoyMcCoy Sat 01-Nov-14 17:42:12

I don't know the answer to your question (helpful) but sweet potatoes certainly seem (to me at least) to be much more prevalent in restaurants etc nowadays than they were a few years back, so maybe they are getting more popular.

PiggyBeekman Sat 01-Nov-14 17:44:04

No. I worked in the produce section of a supermarket in the late 90's and we didn't stock them then.

LegoCaltrops Sat 01-Nov-14 17:44:32

No. I never saw them until my late teens, I'm a child of the 80s. I do live in a town that only had one rubbish supermarket back then though.

poisonedbypen Sat 01-Nov-14 17:45:45

In the mid 90s we were told they were a good weaning food. I had never had them& although you could get them, they were quite hard to find.

FurryDogMother Sat 01-Nov-14 17:47:51

I could buy them in ethnic markets in the 80s (Huddersfield) but I'd never seen them before that.

ScienceRocks Sat 01-Nov-14 17:49:46

They were always a rare treat when I was growing up in the middle of nowhere. The local market traders used to get them specially for my parents, who are indian, along with lychees, mangoes, okra, aubergines and other exotic fare!

someoneorother Sat 01-Nov-14 17:53:51

That's what I was wondering, whether you would have been able to buy them in areas where there were large numbers of people from other parts of the world. Caribbean folk ("West Indians") sprung to mind as there were lots of them back in the 1970s as compared to other ethnic minorities, but also folk from the Indian sub-continent in places like Southall.

Bunbaker Sat 01-Nov-14 18:06:30

No. I grew up in South London in the 1960s and 1970s and we didn't have them then. By comparison to quite a few mumsnetters I had quite an exotic diet back then - spaghetti bolognese, curry and rice, home made pizza with olives and anchovies on, fresh ravioli bought from the delicatessen, polish sausage and sauerkraut and so on.

But I didn't come across sweet potato until I was well into adulthood.

NotCitrus Sat 01-Nov-14 18:35:27

Never had them until I was a student (mid 90s) when our catering manager liked experimenting, and then I lived in an area with friendly ethnic grocers who would entice us to buy some veg and get some other free - if you said you didn't know how to cook it they'd tell you. By the time I graduated they were available in large supermarkets.

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