Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a decidedly NOT Greek holiday. Nonetheless, Liam has the rest of the week off, and the American embassy will be closed. I’m not much of a cook, so thankfully a family we’re close with invited us over for a traditional Thanksgiving feast. I offered to bake my two favorite pies: Pecan and Sweet Potato.
Securing the ingredients was a bit of a challenge. When I asked about vanilla extract, the store clerk said, “Vanillia, like for cakes?” and then put a bag full of small vials in my hand. The vials had some sort of powder in them…not really what I was after. Then in the produce section I had to ask someone if these unusually-shaped potatoes were sweet potatoes. They looked to be the right shape, but the skins were browner. He shouted something in Greek to another clerk, then nodded that yes, these were sweet potatoes. I didn’t even bother looking for pecans. Luckily, the NEX at the embassy had gotten in a huge shipment of Thanksgiving-related food items, and I was able to get everything else on my list. Even eggnog! (Incidentally, I hate the stuff, but it’s a key ingredient in the sweet potato pie. And James will drink it. Blech!)
Once I had Violet down for her afternoon nap, I rolled up my sleeves, pulled over a stool for my little helper, and got to work on my pies.
One swipe with the potato peeler revealed that my sweet potatoes were snowy white on the inside. These must not have been sweet potatoes after all! Liam, ever the helper, offered to stay home by himself for the very first time while I ran down to the fruit stand to get the right potatoes. He’s nearly 8, I didn’t want to wake Violet, and the stand is just a few blocks away, so I decided to go for it. Again I asked the clerk, which of these are the sweet potatoes? He pointed to the oddly-shaped ones, the same ones I had in my kitchen.
“These potatoes, they are sweet,” he said.
“But, are they sweet potatoes,” I asked, pronouncing it “puh-tay-tas.”
“Yes. They are potatoes that are sweet.”
We went round and round on this a couple of times before I decided I didn’t have much choice either way, so I might as well just give this a whirl.
Back at home I chopped and boiled my sweet (period) potatoes (period).
They actually seemed to have the consistency of the yams I’m used to, and they did taste a little sweet, so I was hopeful this would all work out. Still, the color was a bit disconcerting. And they didn’t mash very well, either.
But once I got all the sugar and cream and eggnog and spices all mixed in, you could hardly tell the difference. And once it finished baking, it pretty much looked like it was supposed to.
We’ll find out tomorrow how it tastes.