Life is uncertain. Eat Dessert first.

Happy Thanksgiving! – Sweet Potato with Marshmallow

A favourite dish this time of year in America, this casserole-of-sorts is served as an accompaniment to the traditional Thanksgiving dinner of Roast Turkey, Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, and followed by Pumpkin Pie.

It’s incredibly easy to make: bring some sweet potatoes to the boil, simmer for 15mins until they’re soft, then mash with some cream, cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Spoon into a dish and cover with marshmallows, and bake in the oven for about 10-15 mins until the marshmallows go soft, taking care not to let them burn.

A lot of Americans I spoke to about this dish have a version particular to their own family, but effectively they’re all a variation on that recipe. Everybody told me how much they love it, and were at pains to tell me how well the combination of ingredients works as a side dish to a savoury main course.

However, I remain to be convinced. It looked pretty unappetising, but with the endorsements ringing in my ears I tucked in. As I ate it I expected the starchiness of the sweet potato to counter-act the sweetness of the topping, but ultimately the two flavours were just too diverse to work in harmony together. I liked the gooey marshmallows. And I liked the rich, creamy sweet potato.

Just not on the same plate.

With chicken.

It’s entirely conceivable that some minor tweak in the cooking process would enhance my effort at this dish immeasurably. Or that it’s not possible, at my first attempt, to re-create a dish that has had generations of minor refinements and improvements. Or maybe, like an inability to understand irony, or not possessing a passport, enjoying Sweet Potato with Marshmallows is just one of those inexplicable anomalies that separates the average American from the rest of the world.


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