[Sca-cooks] Yams, Pumpkins, Pecan Pie, was s'mores?

lilinah@earthlink.net lilinah at earthlink.net
Wed Aug 30 09:07:46 PDT 2006

"Mike C. Baker" <kihebard at hotmail.com>
>Pumpkin is dessert, sweet potato can be either side dish or dessert
>depending on preparation. (Yam, which *IS* different biochemically than
>sweet potato, is less likely to appear as dessert than a sweet potato

Well, sometimes a yam isn't a yam.

In the US there are two root vegetables that are actually just 
different varieties of the same plant. Both are long relatively 
narrow tubers with pointed ends and purplish-brown papery skin. One 
has deep orange colored flesh and one has yellow flesh. One is 
commonly called a "sweet potato" and the other is commonly called a 
"yam" - but in reality this so-called "yam" is just a sweet potato. 
Both are varieties of Ipomoea batatas.

I am never sure which is which. One web page said that the deep 
orange fleshed variety are what are commonly called "yams" and the 
yellow fleshed are commonly called "sweet potatoes". But i grew up in 
the Chicago area eating the deep orange fleshed ones and i don't 
recall calling them yams.

For photos, see:

On the other hand there are starchy tubers in other parts of the 
world that have rough, thickish, cocoa-colored skin and a very hard 
white interior. Most have relatively little flavor. Some are massive 
- up to 7 feet long and 150 pounds - although in supermarkets in the 
US that sell them, they are either small, or cut into pieces weighing 
a few pounds. These are true yams, the name in English coming 
ultimately from the Wolof language "nyami" ("to eat"). There are over 
150 varieties of these true yams which are of the genus Dioscorea 
(family Dioscoreaceae) and cultivated in and native to Africa, Asia, 
Latin America and Oceania.

For photos of some honkin' huge yams and a short list of some species, see:

When i was in Indonesia, we ate several varieties. These were snack 
food - cooked, cut in large cubes, rubbed with crumbled "ragi tape' " 
which was a dry pastille made of yeast and spices, then allowed to 
ferment slightly (doesn't take long in Jakarta's hot humid climate).

Whoa! Wikipedia even has a brief article about tape' !!

Adamantius wrote:
>Now, Huette's souffle should be pretty
>easy to distinguish from a pumpkin pie, but for whatever reason, the
>default assumption seems to be that sweet potato dishes, even though
>the potatoes are inherently sweet (slightly), are vegetable side
>dishes, whereas pumpkin dishes, even though pumpkins aren't
>particularly sweet and do often end up in savory dishes, are still
>often assumed to be desserts, perhaps because, deep down, people just
>think all pumpkin dishes are some variant on the concept of the
>pumpkin pie (such as pumpkin cheesecake, for example).

And it turns out that canned pumpkin puree used for pumpkin pies is 
often some other kind of orange-fleshed winter squash, especially 
Hubbard squash, and not pumpkin.

I find it amusing that when asked about vegetables for Thanksgiving, 
my brother said he strongly dislikes winter squash, but that we must 
have pumpkin pie. I was considering making pumpkin soup, and maybe a 
pumpkin roll - a "jelly roll" cake made with pumpkin puree, spread 
with whipped cream, rolled up, and topped with maple sugar frosting. 
I also want to make a pecan-cranberry tart, but he said it had to be 
a standard pecan pie - which i find disgustingly sweet.

Anyone have a recipe for pecan pie which does NOT result in a thin 
layer of pecans floating on a deep layer of horribly sweet goo (or 
not even on a thin layer of horrible sweet goo)?
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list