Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Sweet potato hassle

Showing I'd made an effort for my son's class Thanksgiving was a serious effort.

By Abigail Green / November 7, 2012



"Mom, what are those things on the stove?" asked my 5-year-old son.

Skip to next paragraph

"They're baked sweet potatoes."

"Oh. I thought they were dead mice."

I was starting to think that perhaps I should have volunteered to bring another item to the kindergarten Thanksgiving feast – say, paper plates. But it was my son's first year, and I wanted to make a good impression. Paper goods seem to say, "I can't be bothered." Homemade pies say, "I have too much time on my hands." But a sweet potato casserole says, "I made an effort, and a few vitamins never killed anyone."

Showing I'd made an effort took some serious effort. First, while hefting the grocery bags to my car, I discovered that 10 pounds of sweet potatoes is a lot of sweet potatoes. Then I had to clean, poke, and bake the ton of tubers. The recipe suggested microwaving them, but I wasn't going to stand there all day feeding three or four potatoes into the microwave at a time. I opted to bake them all together in the oven. It took ages. We ordered pizza for dinner.

I left the sweet potatoes on the stove to cool. To be fair, the oblong, grayish forms did resemble rodents. Next, I scooped out the insides, mashed them, and mixed in eggs, brown sugar, and cinnamon. A few of the potatoes seemed a little, well, firm, but I figured the mixer would soften them up. Wrong. Orange chunks ricocheted around the kitchen while I choked on a cloud of cinnamon.

Discouraged but not defeated, I fished out the uncooked bits and microwaved them into submission. Unfortunately, I had already added the other ingredients. Anyone want a side of scrambled eggs with their sweet potatoes? Messy though it was, my method seemed to work. I reintroduced the softened bits into the bowl. Now the splatters from the mixer were scalding hot.

Struggling under the weight of the now-puréed 10 pounds of sweet potatoes, I emptied the bowl into a foil pan and spread them out with a spatula. Not bad. You could barely see the lumps. I was just sprinkling the chopped pecans on top when my son strolled in.

Picking up a wooden spoon and pulverizing the remaining pecans, he said casually, "Luke is allergic to nuts. So's Cameron." Then he swiped a finger into the mixing bowl and went on his way.

That does it. Next year, I'm bringing paper plates. I saw some cute ones at the party store with little mice on them dressed up as Pilgrims.

Permissions

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Editors' picks

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Endeavor Global, cofounded by Linda Rottenberg (here at the nonprofit’s headquarters in New York), helps entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Linda Rottenberg helps people pursue dreams – and create thousands of jobs

She's chief executive of Endeavor Global, a nonprofit group that gives a leg up to budding entrepreneurs.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!