Monday, November 23, 2015

Memories of Thanksgiving Past as Pertaining to Sweet Potatoes

Sometimes memory fails us. Sometimes memory eludes us. Sometimes it simply gets muddled up with other occasions and clear definitive memories simply don’t exist.

However, memories are still a part of who each of us is and have helped to shape us into the person we are today.

As I reflect back on Thanksgiving Day through the years, my growing up memories and my grown up memories have somehow coalesced into one big blur. But tidbits of memories do exist.

I remember mother making her wonderful candied sweet potatoes. These were made from fresh, peeled, uncooked sweet potatoes.* After peeling the potatoes, she sliced them lengthwise into flat pieces which she then arranged in overlapping layers in her baking pan. It was very important to slice them lengthwise rather than across them. She then prepared the sugar and butter ingredients. I don’t have a recipe for this, and maybe she didn’t either. Good cooks sometimes just simply put together these wonderful foods from their own mental storehouse of recipes. I do remember that she always added vanilla. This was a key ingredient! These were baked until they were almost translucent. Marvelously delicious!

In later years sweet potato casserole consisting of cooked and mashed sweet potatoes, vanilla, sugar, egg/s, and orange juice & grated rind seemed to take the place of candied sweet potatoes. She also topped this with marshmallows. Again, fresh sweet potatoes were used in this, not canned.

And then much later, the sweet potato casserole changed a bit. The orange was left out and the potato mixture was baked and then topped with a mind-blowing delicious topping of sugar, butter, and chopped pecans.

All-in-all, sweet potatoes are a big memory of Thanksgiving from my growing up days and on into my own grown up days. Now the sweet potato cooking is relegated to a daughter, daughter-in-law, or granddaughter and most of the time the dish is the pecan-topped version.

How will you serve your sweet potatoes this Thanksgiving?

*Have you ever tried to peel a raw sweet potato? It is hard to do and the sap of the potato leaves your hands stained.

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