Yam vs. Sweet Potato

I have no idea what the difference is between a yam and a sweet potato. I just know I love sweet potato fries from Veggie Grill, or any other grill. I used to think the orange yams my mom baked as a kid smelled like the novacain shots the dentist used to give me as a kid…a smell that’s as haunting as the fear of finding another cavity at the next dental visit. I used to pick off the orange yam chunks my grandma used to cook on top of the rice in the rice cooker. As I grew up, my mom introduced this white sweet potato or yam deal that didn’t have that repulsive novacain stench to it. I started to like this strange food. Moving away from the asian home and exploring the American cuisine in college dorm foods in the midwest and being invited over to meals with American families, I found out you can bake those same orange yams I didn’t like as a kid with brown sugar and marshmallows and it didn’t taste half bad. Actually, it tasted like candy…I guess the Americanized way of making yams could eventually send me back to the dentist for a filling…

But anyway, the point is, then there came the discovery of purple yams! Now, this is a treasure of all yams. Super duper sweet to the taste, no sugar or marshmallows needed! But it is not easy to pick a yam since it’s hard to tell the color just by picking it…and you want to find the yams that are super duper dark purple on the inside, not a pale white/lavendar hue as the taste is just not there if it’s not rich in color.

So, here’s my purple yam that I got at the local farmer’s market for $3.00. One big yam for $3.00…that could last about 2 breakfast meals for me. And the lady at the farmer’s market said that if you want the yam that’s rich in color, go for the bigger ones. Too bad they just take forever to cook. She said bake it at 400F for 45 minutes or so or steam it. That only makes sense if you have like 10 yams, but I definitely do not need $30 worth of yams!

Before: ready to be steamed!

After a lot of steaming, I cut it open to see if it might be done…not even close, so I steamed it in pieces. Totally disappointed. It was definitely not that rich purple hue throughout which makes me think that farmer’s market lady fooled me into buying a big yam instead of the other little one I was eyeballing. I should have known she was just being a business lady because I’ve bought super purple little yams before. Sigh. Well, I’m never going back to that farmer’s market stand now. Next time, I’m just going to have to call mama Su! She’s got a lifetime of tips when it comes to food!

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