Kwanzaa Culinarians

Recipes and Food Stories from the African Diaspora

The Gourmet Diva Shares a Sweet Potato Story

Confession: Being a Gourmet Diva, I mainly cook with fresh and whole foods these days, so don’t tell anyone I told you this. Would you ever believe there was a time that I would make candied yams from canned sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving and Christmas?  Not very Gourmet Diva at all.

Yes, in the classic Southern Candied Yam dish of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and other aromatic spices, I used canned sweet potatoes. I know, I know. Can I use the excuse that I’m from wayyy south?  Central America to be exact.

That soon changed, one year at Thanksgiving, when I had my boyfriend at the time and his family visiting from Charleston, South Carolina. As in most families, once you get a bunch of people gathered around the kitchen the conversation always turns to food.  We talked about making mashed potatoes and candied yams. It came out that my southern counterparts made mashed potatoes with the box potato flakes, while I made candied yams with my canned yams. We all laughed after we all agreed how easy it was to make our dishes, but how much better they taste with fresh ingredients. Since that moment I haven’t brought a can of yams since and laugh every time I see one at the store.

On the 6th day of Kwaanza, Kuumba (creativity), we are challenged to think about what creative contributions we can make in our lives, and to us all.  Mine is through food. Here are some simple and sophisticated ways to prepare sweet potatoes The Gourmet Diva way:

Ingredients and Directions:

Cut sweet potatoes into wedges and roast at 450 degrees until tender.

Drizzle honey or maple syrup on top

For a Sophisticated recipe try Sweet Potato Apple Thyme Torta

Keesha O’Galdez is a private chef and owner of the Gourmet Diva. She travels between New York City, Boston and Miami.


This entry was posted on December 19, 2011 by in 2011, Kuumba, Personal Story, Recipe and tagged , , , , , , .

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Learn more about Kwanzaa

The word "Kwanzaa" comes from the phrase, "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first-fruits." Kwanzaa's extra "a" evolved as a result of a particular history of the Organization Us. It was clone as an expression of African values in order to inspire the creativity of our children. In the early days of Us, there were seven children who each wanted to represent a letter of Kwanzaa. Since kwanza (first) has only six letters, we added an extra "a" to make it seven, thus creating "Kwanzaa." To learn more about Kwanzaa, visit the Official Kwanzaa Website.

%d bloggers like this: