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Sweet potatoes are true food of the gods

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POSTED: November 13, 2013 8:30 p.m.
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Like the more common cousins, sweet potatoes can be used in a variety of dishes, or eaten by themselves.

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My English IV teacher, Reomia Unold, said ambrosia was the food of the gods. I disagreed and told her so. She shook her head and sighed.
She was leading us through a study of Greek and Roman mythology while resisting the desire to strangle me.
Following our study of Dante’s Inferno, she had assigned us a writing project that required us to use classic literature and the Bible as sources to determine where Hell is located.
I referenced Dante’s work, Marlowe’s “Doctor Faustus,” Milton’s “Paradise Lost” and a few others, including a couple books of the Bible. At the conclusion of the 10-page, typed report (no word processors in those days), I told her all the great writers and even the prophet Isaiah and Apostles Matthew and Peter got it all wrong.
I said Hell wasn’t located above, below or in the middle of Earth. I said Hell was in Room 212 at Dixon High School — Ms. Unold’s classroom.
I could tell she was grading my report when she began laughing and crying, saying I needed to take writing more seriously. I do. It’s me I don’t take seriously. The moment I do, I’ll stop writing.
I don’t care much for ambrosia, really, though it often has found its way onto our dinner table during Thanksgiving. I’ll eat it, but I prefer sweet-tater pie, sweet-tater soufflé or sweet-tater bread. I like sweet taters, especially with lots of butter and cinnamon.
From what Ms. Unold had told us about Greco-Roman gods, they were anthropomorphic and not at all like our God. They were lustful liars with a propensity for being vengeful and violent. Greco-Roman gods had all the qualities of bad human rulers with supernatural powers.
I figured they’d much rather have slices of sweet-tater bread with their coffee of the gods or dish of sweet-tater soufflé.
Here’s a sweet tater bread recipe that’s good enough for the gods.

Sweet tater bread
2 cups of sweet taters
2 1/3 cups of sugar
2/3 cup of water
2/3 cup of cooking oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
3 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans
Cook taters at 350 degrees. When done, peel and then mash the taters in a mixing bowl. Add dry ingredients (except pecans) and wet ingredients, and then beat well. Add pecans and mix without beating. Line two bread pans with nonstick foil lapping over the edges. Pour mixture into pans and bake for 55 minutes at 350 degrees.
As I suggested, sweet-tater bread is excellent with your morning coffee, especially Thanksgiving morning when you’re saving yourself for the big meal. Sweet-tater soufflé is something I save till the last bite of turkey and dressing. I’ll often eat it as a rehearsal for real dessert — pumpkin pie or pumpkin pound cake, which I’ll talk about next week.
Here’s my wife’s special sweet tater soufflé recipe.

Sweet tater soufflé
5 sweet taters (baked, peeled and mashed)
1/2 cup of sugar
2 beaten eggs
1/2 stick melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix ingredients with a mixer or blender and pour in a large baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
Topping
1/3 stick of margarine
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped coconut (optional)
Prepare topping in a sauce pan over medium heat, stirring until margarine is melted. Pour on top of casserole and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. After casserole is done, you can top it with marshmallows. Put it back in the oven for about five minutes.
Enjoy, but save room for pumpkin pound cake.

 

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