Thanksgiving Dinner Conversation: Yams & Sweet Potatoes

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Before Halloween, Stacy Conradt filled us up with trivia treats about our favorite sweets. She's back again for another food series leading up to Thanksgiving.

sweetpotato.jpg1) Sweet potatoes are NOT yams. Yams are native to Asia and Africa and are rarely seen in the U.S. and Canada, although you can sometimes find them in more tropical regions. Yams and sweet potatoes (pictured ===>) are in two different botanical categories.

2) About 40 percent of sweet potatoes in the U.S. come from North Carolina.

3) Despite this fact, Vardaman, Mississippi, claims to be the Sweet Potato Capital of the World. The National Sweet Potato Festival is held there the first week of November every year.

baked_sweet_potato_fries.jpg4) Sweet potato fries are delicious. Here's a recipe. (Disclaimer: this may be a biased opinion.)

5) Although there's no scientific study, many people in Africa think that so many twins are born there because of the high rate of yam consumption (NOT sweet potato).

6) During the Civil War, the sweet potato was used as a coffee substitute when coffee beans were scarce. The veggie was cut into small pieces, dried, ground and brewed.

7) George Washington grew sweet potatoes at Mount Vernon.

Tomorrow: Pumpkin Pie. Yesterday: Cranberry Sauce.

November 20, 2007 - 4:40am
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