Friday, November 26, 2010

Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet Potatoes have started to push beyond the boundaries of Thanksgiving and make their way onto plates throughout the year. But even those who don't have them any other time, generally want a little dollop of them next to the Thanksgiving turkey.

Yesterday I decided to look for a recipe for a sweet potato casserole. I found one online, and fortunately wrote down the majority of it, because it seems to have vanished into thin air. But, no matter, even on my first time making it I made a couple of modifications I think make it better.

It was a big hit at Miss Joy's house. She, Greg, Mia and I ate a whole pan of it in a little over 12 hours. So, today I went and bought some more sweet potatoes so we could have some more. I thought I'd share the recipe. It's sweet and yummy.

Sweet Potato Casserole

4-5 small/medium sized sweet potatoes - cooked and mashed
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4-1/2 cup orange juice
pecans and marshmallows

Mix all ingredients together except pecans and marshmallows.  I like to taste the mixture and make sure it's as sweet and cinnamon-y as I like it. Put in casserole dish and put pecans and marshmallows on top. Sprinkle with more brown sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees until done. It will depend on how big your potatoes are and what size dish you use. Could take 30 minutes - could take an hour. All you really need to cook are the eggs. I like to let the marshmallows melt into the top of it, too.

We declared it a big success. Miss Joy says you're crazy if you don't give it a try!


Most Americans just engaged in the Thanksgiving ritual of turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce. Most of us don't cook those things on a regular basis, even though they're readily available. We may eat a turkey sandwich, but we all know lunch meat is a far cry from a turkey right out of the oven.

Maybe part of the reason is that the ritual of Thanksgiving - of pausing to give thanks with family and friends, taking time off from work, travelling to be with loved ones, preparing a feast for those we love - is connected with those particular foods. They're associated, and we don't want to diminish the impact of the Thanksgiving ritual by serving cranberry relish on an idle Tuesday.

Food  has meaning far beyond the nourishment it provides. It is wrapped in tradition and few people turn down Grandma's special cake on their birthday, Mama's fried chicken at Sunday dinner, or a heaping plate of turkey on Thanksgiving. We connect with each other when our feet are under the same table.

My friend, Greg, coined the phrase a few years ago that a pie his mom made, "had love in it." He summed it up beautifully. Food made with the intention to provide sustenance and pleasure for those we care about always has the extra ingredient of love added in. No deli, bakery or grocery store is ever going to be able to provide the love. It can only be added to the food in one way - by the hand of someone who cares for you.

This Thanksgiving I was honored to be able to cook some of the Thanksgiving meal at Miss Joy's house (Greg's mom). It was really nice to participate in this time honored ritual. A day to pause, for national Thanksgiving, and to gather around our tables together, is an opportunity to share some love.