Bubbie Reba's Candied Sweet Potatoes

Foodista Cookbook Entry

Category: Side Dishes | Blog URL: http://eatingwithgrace.blogspot.com/2009/11/enjoying-excellence.html

This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.


6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon


Boil the sweet potatoes in a large pot of lightly salted water for about 15 minutes or so until cooked but still very firm. Time will vary depending on the size of the potatoes.
In the meantime, combine sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.
Drain and cool the sweet potatoes, and peel off the skin.
Slice the sweet potatoes into cross sections, about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick.
Take a frying pan (my grandmother always used a black, cast iron pan) and heat the vegetable oil.
Coat the slices of sweet potato in the sugar and cinnamon mix and fry them in batches, one side at a time until the sugar is carmelized and looks kind of burnt. This is one time where you want a little burnt taste- it adds to the flavor.
Blot on paper towel lined plate and transfer to a serving plate.




On Thanksgiving and every other major holiday, we used to travel 45 minutes to my grandmother’s. When cooking a big meal got to be too much for her, my mother did all the cooking back at our house.

No matter where we went, we always managed to eat five courses in five minutes. And the men always got up from the table five minutes after we finished, unzipped their too-tight pants and passed out on the sofa, leaving the football game on in the background. The women, of course, who spent all day cooking, were left in the kitchen to do all of the cleaning.

I didn’t know that this wasn’t the way other people ate until I spent one Thanksgiving at my Italian friend’s house, and they ate about eight courses in about eight hours, lingering between courses, and actually digesting each morsel before going onto the next course. No wonder the Italians invented the Slow Food movement, which besides being an antidote to fast food and literally eating in a hurry, emphasizes a return to regional traditions and home cooking from local, sustainably grown ingredients.

One day recently when Grace was busy eating (which is what she’s usually doing), and I was in a rush, as usual, telling her to hurry up and finish her apple so we could go wherever we were going, she stopped me and said, “Don’t rush me, I’m enjoying the excellence.” I just had to stop what I was doing, and smile at the inherent smartness of kids. It’s too bad we all grow up and unlearn all these wonderful notions we pick up as children.

And while the food was good in both my family's and my friend's family homes, my fondest memory of Thanksgiving is my grandmother’s slowly cooked candied sweet potatoes. It became our tradition that every year, I was always allowed to sneak into the kitchen and have one as a pre-appetizer treat.

I rarely make them now- who wants to go to all the trouble -so I tend to either bake them,or since I have a kid around, cut them into French fry strips and roast them and season them with fresh lemon thyme and olive oil.

But this year, maybe on a Sunday when we’re home all day and I have time to slow down and spend a few hours cooking, I’ll make those candied sweet potatoes, and Grace can sneak into the kitchen before it’s time to serve them, and I’ll let her sample the excellence of them before we sit down for dnner. After all, it’s nice to keep family traditions.




Thursday, December 31, 2009 - 12:43pm


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