Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving: The Year We Ruined the Sweet Potatoes.

I have this disease where I think I am capable of doing things.

I see my mom/sister/neighbor/friend pull off something awesome and I'm all "I could do that. I've made rolls AND run a 5k before." And I shrug my shoulders in the no big deal way.

This is why I signed up for a triathlon, and have vinyl and a cricut, and 

So in a moment of sheer insanity we invited Grandma Egbert & Grandma Mott (Josh's step mom and grandma) over for Thanksgiving dinner. Fortunately for me, Meleta (step-mom) realized that I'm an idiot and said she'd host and we could come and she'd give us significant responsibilities.

Sweet potatoes, stuffing, and rolls.

For some unknown reason sweet potatoes with sugar and marshmallows are a thing in that family....so they were mandatory.
For a million very logical reasons I like roasted sweet potatoes with salt and no extra sweet on them. They're already sweet, that's why they're called sweet potatoes. They don't need sugar on them.

But I do love my husband (both for unknown and logical reasons) so we bought roughly 9 million sweet potatoes and decided we'd do both.

Thanksgiving morning after a nice leisurely breakfast I started in on the rolls - my comfort zone. With plenty of time to rise, and the flexibility of being in the kitchen to cook them whenever they looked big enough to cook I was confident they'd be fine.

Next I started peeling sweet potatoes. And with 9 million of them (OK there were like 10 big ones) to do it was good I started early. Peeling, dicing, steaming and mashing BEFORE adding the extra sweet and baking again. High maintenance AND yucky.

Josh and I started steaming them in smaller batches because my big pot was busy. The first 2 batches of steaming went well, and I started adding sugar and cinnamon. I added cinnamon because I read on the internet that you should. But I didn't read on the internet how much you should add and the only thing I ever make with cinnamon is cinnamon rolls....so......

Obviously I added 14 times the appropriate amount of cinnamon. And heaven only knows how much too much brown sugar. I probably got the butter right, but we'll never know because the mushy pile of orange-brown lumpiness had Josh and I too horrified to do anything but throw it away.

"No problem" I told him, "we'll just add more sweet potatoes"
"There aren't enough sweet potatoes" he said solemnly over a bowl of ruined sugary goodness ".....ever. Like in the world."

Turns out he was right, because that's when learned that 5 LARGE sweet potatoes only need 1/4 tsp of cinnamon.

That's when we worked out a game plan involving me sacrificing my pure olive oil and sea salt sweet potatoes for his nasty sugared up sweet potatoes and I went downstairs to do my hair even though he expressed some concern about being responsible for so many food things happening at once.

10 minutes later I heard a shout from the kitchen. Because exactly one of us is good in emergencies (It's Josh. It's not me. Not at all me.) I (wisely) decided to stay downstairs and let him fix it. Whatever "it" was.

Another few minutes passed while I listened to Sheri Dew interview Elder & Sister Ballard before Josh came down the stairs with a bowl full of beautifully steamed sweet potatoes. Bright orange.
"I can only taste burning. Will you tell me if it's my mouth or these things?"

It was those things. And burned is a mild term for how those tasted.

Turned out he forgot to put more water in between the steaming cycles and the pan was sortof on fire.

Long story shortened (by a little, but not much...) we started with 2 VERY FULL 9x13 pans of sweet potatoes and ended with 2 small pans of sweet potatoes barely covering the bottom. Barely.

The stuffing went off without a hitch because I think all stuffing is overrated and have a testimony of stove top. But 48 hours later when the kitchen (and everything prepared in it) still smelled like burning we were thankful (again) that we weren't the bosses of Thanksgiving this year because we couldn't even handle the sweet potatoes without murdering them. More than once.

Last year we ruined the stuffing (yes Stovetop) because Josh didn't know you have to boil the water before adding the stuffing and we offered up our nasty gluey substance at an otherwise beautiful dinner with my brother.

2011 The Year We Ruined the Stuffing
2012 The Year We Ruined the Sweet Potatoes

2013 No assignment yet....I wonder why?


  1. Sweet potatoes are HARD! I ruined them one year because I used real sweet potatoes! Horrible experience. Now I ONLY use canned sweet potatoes. They taste ok and are fully cooked so you can add whatever you want without the worry of burning and over mushing, etc. I feel your pain!

  2. I manage to ruin something every year, too. Once my rolls were hard little rocks. Another time my sadly misshapen pumpkin pie was dumped on the ground (not by me) and scooped back up into the pie dish to be served.

  3. Maybe you don't even want to know this at this point, but you can totally bake sweet potatoes. You just wash them and throw them all on a cookie sheet (covered in tinfoil-they get sticky) and bake at 350 for an hour or two. Then they totally just pop out of the skins and are ready to go.

    Also, the stuffing from last year was not THAT bad :)


Share |