Bibi-g (my nan) was a great believer in eating healthy food to fight illness. She wasn’t feeling well and asked me to buy her some sweet potatoes from the local grocer. Off I skipped with my childhood enthusiasm and a pound in my hand to pick out the best vegetable.
I came home and presented the prized potatoes. Much to my disappointment Bibi-g wasn’t at all impressed. She greeted me with some rather sharp words as I had bought the wrong thing. The mystery was finally solved when my mum arrived to translate.
What I had thought was the punjabi word for sweet potato was actually the word for plum. Potato is aloo in punjabi and plum is aloo-bakara which sound far too similar for my liking. I had thought bakara meant sweet. One thing I did learn that day was the punjabi word for sweet potato is sakargandhee.
Sometimes good intentions are lost in translation especially when you buy a vegetable instead of a fruit.