Tuesday, November 28, 2006

143 Years Ago Today

Today in 1863, Thanksgiving was first celebrated as a regular American Holiday. Abraham Lincoln ordered government offices closed for a day of thanksgiving and praise, the last Thursday of November. Thanksgiving has actually had an interesting past with our past Presidents. This New York Sun article explains its history well, beginning with George Washington.
The way we celebrate Thanksgiving today, and the version we see in so many plays is not exactly as it happened. Here are some interesting Mayflower Myths including the clothes they probably wore and the food they probably ate.
When we think of our Thanksgiving Day feast, we think of roasted turkey, stuffing, cranberries and mashed potatoes with gravy. As you can probably guess, this is probably not the meal of those early settlers on their day of thanksgiving. However, turkey is the only poultry native to North America. Cranberries are also native to North America. So it is not a stretch that the Pilgrims could have eaten these delicious morsels.
A bit late I know, but I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday. I hope you were able to enjoy a fabulous feast with your loved ones and relax and enjoy life.

Monday, November 13, 2006

You Say Yam, I Say Sweet Pot-Ta-To

Yam, Sweet Potato. Sweet Potato, Yam. These are two terms for the same thing, right? As you can see by the photo, they are not the same. In the United States, we often use the name interchangeably.

The two are not related. The sweet potato is a root vegetable, part of the morning glory family and originates from Central and South America. The yam is a tuber originating from West Africa and Asia. When slaves arrived in the New World, they saw the sweet potato and called it yam since it looked similar to the vegetable from home.

The sweet potato has smooth, thin skin while the yam has rough, scaly skin. The sweet potato has a sweeter taste and feels moist in the mouth while in contrast the yam has a starchy taste and feels dry in the mouth. Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene while yams are not.

Yams, however are not commonly found in markets in the United States, so regardless of what the sign in the produce departments reads, you are most likely purchasing sweet potatoes. Yams are available in some Latin markets. I have not yet check our local international markets to see where they can locally be purchased.

Sweet potatoes are complimented nicely with brown sugar, butter, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, ginger, lemon juice, lemon peel, mace, marjoram, nutmeg, orange juice, orange peel, poppy seed, sage, savory and thyme. They can be roasted, steamed, boiled, baked, sautéed, mashed and fried.

Recipe Links
North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission recipes. Can also request a free recipe brochure.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Glossary of Squashes & Gourds

I ran across this on Martha Stewart Living and thought you might find it useful this time of year, Glossary of Squashes and Gourds.
It lists 16 different winter squashes, showing photos and giving their names with some hints about each. I will also add it to my LINKS.