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Old 08-07-2019, 11:40 AM
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In the US as well, wild blueberries (usually called "huckleberries") are also both smaller and tastier than the cultivated varieties.
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Old 08-07-2019, 11:47 AM
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Charles C. Mann, in 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, posited that sweet potatoes helped fuel the Chinese population explosion, as the yield per acre at the time was far greater than rice or other grains, though it turned out the farming methods were much more environmentally unfriendly in the longer term.
Which part of China? B/c rice is still the staple for most Chinese people, and sweet potatoes is another snack.
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Old 08-07-2019, 11:56 AM
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Which part of China? B/c rice is still the staple for most Chinese people, and sweet potatoes is another snack.
530 years is enough time for agricultural and eating practices to change several times. Food "traditions" are often not more than a generation or two old.
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Old 08-07-2019, 12:46 PM
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Which part of China? B/c rice is still the staple for most Chinese people, and sweet potatoes is another snack.
In addition to Ascenray's answer, this was also pre-industrial revolution. Lastly, China is very large, and not everywhere is suitable for rice growth. At a time when you need 10 farmers for every 50 or so people and mass food transportation is centuries off, you grow what yields the most in that area at that time. The more people that can be freed from agriculture, the more to support larger cities and more industry.
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Old 08-07-2019, 01:13 PM
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Quinoa seems to be becoming widespread lately. However it seems the only crops are within its native Andes mountain range, putting pressure on the locals who rely on it as a food-staple. I haven't looked into it, but I guess it needs high-altitudes.

Pawpaws may be on the rise, too, at least with North America; a quick search indicates there are old-world relatives, though they might have their own flavors and textures and applications.
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Old 08-07-2019, 02:59 PM
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Charles C. Mann, in 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, posited that sweet potatoes helped fuel the Chinese population explosion, as the yield per acre at the time was far greater than rice or other grains, though it turned out the farming methods were much more environmentally unfriendly in the longer term.
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In addition to Ascenray's answer, this was also pre-industrial revolution. Lastly, China is very large, and not everywhere is suitable for rice growth. At a time when you need 10 farmers for every 50 or so people and mass food transportation is centuries off, you grow what yields the most in that area at that time. The more people that can be freed from agriculture, the more to support larger cities and more industry.
Which is why I asked which part of China. At least among the Han Chinese population, sweet potatoes doesn't have same culture impact on Chinese Irish cuisine like the potatoes have on the Irish cuisine.
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Old 08-07-2019, 03:15 PM
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"China and the Sweet Potato" -- http://www.chinastudyabroad.org/inde...e-sweet-potato

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Today China is the world’s biggest producer of sweet potatoes ...

The sweet potato, a native of the west coast of South America, arrived in China via the Spanish Philippines.

...

The story goes that a Chinese merchant named Chen Zhenlong in the early 1590s came across the sweet potato (ipomoea batatas) in his contact with Spanish merchants in the Philippines. ...

While all this potato vine smuggling was going on, China itself was in the middle of a mini ice age that caused two decades of hard rains in the 1580s and 1590s. These rains flooded the great rice paddle fields of the southern regions of Fujian, Guangdong, and Sichuan. Famine spread as people lost everything. Chen Zhenlong’s son showed the crop his father had brought to China to the local governor of Fujian and persuaded him to let the people use it to grow a new food that could feed them cheaply and with no reliance on the complex irrigation systems of rice cultivation.

It worked. The crop spread quickly and fed the peoples of Fujian just in time for the fall of the Ming dynasty and the consequent wars and disruption that would plunge the country into chaos. The massive internal refugee crisis this period of Chinese history caused forced people onto new land that was not suitable for traditional food production. Known as shack people by other Chinese these refugees mainly of Hakka ethnicity found the soil was too thin for wheat and the slopes too steep for the irrigation of rice paddies.

Enter the sweet potato again to save the day. The Hakka people adopted American crops like potatoes, maize, and tobacco and thrived on China’s south-east coastline. Planting maize and potatoes into every piece of land they could, the shack people and migrants almost tripled the nation’s cultivated area between the years 1700 and 1850.

Soon many Chinese farmers’ diets revolved around the sweet potato, not just rice and grain: sweet potatoes baked and boiled, sweet potatoes ground into flour for noodles, sweet potatoes mashed with pickles or deep fried with honey or chopped into stew with turnips and soybean milk, even sweet potatoes fermented into a kind of wine.[2] When European missionaries arrived a century later, all they could find was potato crops in the region.

Potatoes then moved westward into the interior of the Qing empire through Sichuan and then into Tibet. Along the way they revolutionized agriculture wherever they went. Potatoes increased arable land and food stocks and therefore increased populations. Where once desperate poor people toiled for food day after day, now people could develop themselves and their cultures.

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Old 08-08-2019, 11:12 AM
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How about chia, has that grown in popularity abroad? I mean, as a food, not a chintzy novelty toy. I see it sold alongside trendy whole foods.
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Old 08-08-2019, 12:00 PM
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Here's one that I thought would be cookies, see if you can guess what we call it now. ROFL!
I didn't need to guess, I've made this many times. And I make my own dough for it.

Also, loseyns - what modern dish would you think that was?

Newbies are often surprised when I offer them medieval blancmange...

Last edited by MrDibble; 08-08-2019 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 08-08-2019, 12:29 PM
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I think turnips served in the "potato" role pre-Columbian exchange. Probably other root vegetables like rutabagas/swedes, too.
Likely not rutabagas, since they didnt appear until well after 1492, possibly as late as around 1620, actually.

However, turnips dont grow like potatoes, which were a revolution.
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Old 08-08-2019, 01:20 PM
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I didn't need to guess, I've made this many times. And I make my own dough for it.

Also, loseyns - what modern dish would you think that was?
Itís not that far off lasagna
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Old 08-08-2019, 03:44 PM
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However, turnips dont grow like potatoes, which were a revolution.
Yes, but if you don't have potatoes what you do have is turnips, beets, and the like. You are correct, potatoes are amazing - that is why they took over so much farmland - but the question is what did people eat before they had access to the Wonder Spud.
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