Rebecca Earle in Literary Hub:
All 4,500 named varieties of potatoes trace their ancestry to the Americas. Wild potatoes grow along the American cordillera, the mountains that run from the Andes to Alaska. People living on its slopes have been eating potatoes for time out of mind. Stone tools and preserved potato peels show that wild potatoes were being prepared for food in southern Utah and south-central Chile nearly 13,000 years ago; similar evidence dates their domestication from at least 7800 BCE on the northern coast of Peru. They formed an important part of the diet of many of the cultures inhabiting the 9000 kilometers between Utah and Chile.
Together with foods such as quinoa and maize, they provided a robust, starchy backbone to cuisines also enriched with chile peppers, beans and other vegetables. Each variety can be propagated from a “mother potato.” She sounds like an ancient deity but in botany the term refers to the mundane tuber or seed potato that provides the genetic material from which additional plants are cultivated.
One difficulty with potatoes is that they are difficult to store. Anyone who has ever lost track of a bag of potatoes knows this.