Sweet potato pie originated in the U.S. South. African slaves created the original recipe for sweet potato pie in the mid to late 1800s. Abby Fisher, an African slave who was later freed, wrote the first known recipe for the sweet potato pie in her book, "What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Southern Cooking," published in 1881.
Fisher's original recipe for sweet potato pie includes sweet potatoes, eggs, butter, milk, an orange and salt. The basic recipe for sweet potato pie is still considered a staple in today’s Southern cooking.
Slaves used sweet potatoes often because it reminded them of yams, a similar starchy vegetable eaten regularly in Africa. The word yam and sweet potato are often used interchangeably because they are so similar; however, the two vegetables come from different plants. Soft varieties of sweet potatoes are still sometimes labeled as yams in the United States but the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires them to be accompanied by the words "sweet potato."
Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, potassium and vitamin C. They are also an excellent source of beta-carotene, containing as much as carrots do. Additionally, they are a fat-free food. Consuming this vegetable can help prevent diseases such as cancer and heart disease as well as fight against inflammatory diseases such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.