Potatoes in Bolivia (with Poll)

Van Gogh: Basket of Potatoes, 1885

The highs and lows of Bolivian cuisine

In the highlands the people enjoy potato, corn, cheese, and spicy hot food. In the lowlands, they navigate towards bananas, maize, rice, and cassava.

Mama Spud…

The domestic potato, known to the Incans as Mama Jatha (“Mother of Growth”), was first cultivated high in the Andes mountains near Lake Titicaca about 7,000 years ago. Today this area straddles Bolivia and Peru.

It’s Potato O’clock!

The ancient Inca used the potato to measure time.

Boy: How long does it take to walk to the post office?

Girl: 1/2 as long as boiling a potato.

Boy: Great! I’ll be there in no time 🙂


Homemade beverages

If you see a white flag outside a home in Bolivia, its beckoning wave means there is chicha for sale. Chica is a South American home brew that can be made from a number of ingredients, but  fermented cassava and maize are most common in Bolivia. The flavor has been compared to hard cider, although this varies greatly depending on the main ingredient and brewing process.

Flatter than a pancake?

At 4,000 square miles, Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt plain. The elevation changes less than 16 inches in all that expanse, making it one of the flattest places on earth.

A double edged sword

The native coca plant is used to make tea, flour, cookies, crackers, energy bars and pills with a mild stimulant effect, rather like coffee.  Powdered coca also is present in toothpaste, soap, and other beauty products. Unfortunately, the coca plant is the source of the addictive and dangerous drug, cocaine. As a result, the United Nations banned export of any food or beverage with coca in the ingredient list.


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