All Hail the Sweet Potato

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In our humble opinion, Thanksgiving is superior to any other day of the year. In an effort to make this year's feast the best of all time (sorry, Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe), we're bringing you the recipes, how-tos and decorating ideas to help you become a Turkey Day pro.

Creamy Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Photo by: Marshall Troy ©2012,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Marshall Troy, 2012,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Watch out. Sweet potatoes are having a moment. Like a band that suddenly blew up or an ingenue nominated for an Oscar, these rooty tubers have glided into the limelight and, it’s safe to say, the year belongs to them.

What the hell are we talking about? We’re talking about sweet potato soups and snacks and desserts and cocktails, people. We’re talking about the role of side dish, the duty of being a vehicle for marshmallows being over. Everywhere we look, we see sweet potatoes in new weird iterations. Then we eat them.

But the first rule of sweet potatoes is: Don’t get it twisted. Do not call Ipomoea batatas a yam. Here in North America, we fling around the term "yam" like some people say “nucular.” But a yam is actually a larger, lighter-colored, totally different Asian and African root vegetable. In fact, we’re so accustomed to wrongly saying “yams” that here in America, any sweet potato product labeled "yam" must also say “sweet potato.” So, yeah. They’re called sweet potatoes. Unless they’re yams. That’s lesson No. 1.

But that's enough talk; let’s chow. Here are a few ways you can get hip to sweet potatoes and use these starchy suckers as more than a sad, neglected potluck casserole. Because a yam — er, sweet potato — by any other name would taste as sweet.

You think you know what a sweet potato soup should taste like, until you skim this ingredients list and see curry paste and ginger. Bobby Deen puts an exotic spin on tuber soup, and we’re into it.

Before dinner begins — or even the next day when everyone is still watching football (football is on 24 hours a day until January, right?) — make a bowl of homemade rosemary beet and sweet potato chips. You can’t feel guilty about chips if you made them yourself. It’s a law.

Four ingredients. A whole world of joy. Sweet and with warm winter spice, these roasted honey sweet potatoes might have you shrugging with apathy at the pie table.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes (pictured above)

A savory, tangy — even spicy — mashed sweet potato dish? We bet your grandma never put Greek yogurt and cayenne pepper in her “yam” casserole.

Cupcakes, Doughnuts, Ice Pops

Traveling for Unique Sweets, we get to try the country’s most-delightfully experimental desserts. This season we sampled sweet potato marshmallow ice pops and sweet potato doughnuts in Atlanta, plus sweet potato cupcakes. But if you’re not bouncing around the country, try this bourbon-y pecan-crusted Sweet Potato Cheesecake. We’re also pretty into this buttered rum sweet potato Bundt cake. Hey, it’s just coincidence that both of them are flavored with booze.

Sweet Potato Snacks

Traveling for Tripping Out with Alie & Georgia and Unique Sweets means we’re in airports. Like, a lot. Which means we’ve purchased way too many “meals” at Hudson News shops. But lately we’ve been seeing sweet potato tortilla chips from a brand called, self-explanatorily, Food Should Taste Good. Yeah, we’ve mowed through many a bag while waiting on layovers.

Cocktail

No list of wonderful things would be complete without a cocktail. But a sweet potato cocktail? C’mon, we’re Alie and Georgia. So ready your blowtorches and marshmallows — and your whiskey — for this insane liquid homage, Shoot a Wild Turkey. Suddenly, a meal with the in-laws just got a little more tolerable.

Have a lovely feast with family, a warm night and sweet (potato) dreams.

In tubers we trust,
Alie & Georgia
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