by Monica Gullon
Just because Thanksgiving is the most important family meal of the year doesn't mean you have to spend hundreds of hours cooking and cleaning. Here are some ways to keep the holiday hassle to a minimum.
- Clear your fridge well in advance to make room for all the Thanksgiving food.
- Keep the Butterball Turkey hotline number (1-800-323-4848) on your fridge door. Why go at it alone when there are trained professionals who can answer any question you might have about storing, thawing, cooking or carving your bird?
- Better yet, purchase a roasted turkey from a local restaurant or gourmet shop. This is the ultimate Thanksgiving luxury. No defrosting, no checking and poking for hours. And best of all, a cool kitchen.
- Cut back on the number of side dishes you serve. Nix the brussel sprouts casserole nobody touched last year. Ditch the stuffing if you're also serving mashed potatoes and rice pilaf.
- Leave some or all of the peel on your mashed or roasted potatoes. You'll save precious prep time.
- Bake just one kind of pie. (Pumpkin is less time-consuming than apple.) Even better: order from your favorite restaurant or bakery.
- Use disposable roasting pans or line your casserole pans with foil. The less washing you have to do, the better.
- Have your Tupperware containers and their matching lids lined up and ready to accept the inevitable leftovers. You'll be thankful you did.
Sweet Potato or Yam?
by Monica Gullon
Can you tell the difference between a sweet potato and a yam? While they look alike and can be substituted for each other in recipes, these two Thanksgiving Day classics come from different plant families.
The sweet potato (which incidentally, is also not related to the potato) is a large edible root that belongs to the morning glory family and is a native to tropical areas of the Americas. The yam is a member of the Dioscoreaceae family of tropical and subtropical climbing herbs and shrubs which grow in the Americas, parts of Asia and Africa.
Both can be similar in size, shape and color. Sweet potatoes and yams come in yellow and deep orange colors. (Yams, are also available in white, purple and pink.) Yams are higher in moisture, while sweet potatoes are higher in vitamins A and C—but these factors are difficult to spot while shopping at the grocery store.
At Thanksgiving the differences between sweet potatoes and yams don't matter much, since many folks feel they both taste great baked with marshmallows on top. Of course, marshmallows don't come from the marshmallow plant. They're made from corn syrup, gelatin, gum arabic and flavoring.
This page originally published as part of the electronic Gourmet Guide between 1994 and 1998.
Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.
Modified August 2007