Since it's Thanksgiving Weekend here in the Great White North, I feel this post is entirely appropriate!
For over two years I have been plagued by a food mystery. I searched high and low, I asked produce managers and lackeys at the grocery stores, I tried good old Google and internet nutritional havens. I recently got out of hock at the library, and was prepared to check out the information available there (sorry, punny) but my favourite baby food book had the answer I needed! I love a good mystery solved.
My conundrum was: What is a sweet potato and what is a yam? I knew from what I had read that sweet potatoes are nutritional wonders, packed with Vitamin A and all sorts of great things. And I knew that yams have almost no nutritional value.
When you go the grocery store, there are some root vegetables which have a light brown skin and the cooked flesh is a very pale yellow, and the texture is similar to a white potato. Then there is the beautiful orange-fleshed variety with a darker skin, pictured above, with a creamier-textured flesh. I prefer the taste and texture of the orange coloured variety, meself. The problem is, every place seemed to call them yam and sweet potato either interchangeably or opposite from the next place.
Atlas Café has "yam fries" made from the orange variety. One of the grocery stores in town has a sign which reads: "yams/sweet potatoes". What the eff? On the interwebs I could not find a solid definition of which was which. When Liam was a baby and I was introducing solids, I made the decision that the whiter-coloured variety must be a sweet potato, and so I never fed him the orange-coloured "yams". I didn't want to feed my baby something with no nutritional value!
But the mystery has been solved! In the back of my favourite baby food bible, Super Baby Food, she explains that in North America, there ARE no yams! Yams are a foreign produce item, but we commonly call the different varieties of sweet potatoes here "yams". So the white-fleshed and the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are both nutritionally dense. And might I add, delicious.