Yams Are Not Sweet Potatoes

I feel like I’ve been lied to my whole life. I found out today that Yams and Sweet Potatoes are not the same thing. In fact, they are very, very different. Derek was coming over today to fix a meal for me and my friend, Cammy, who came all the way from Pennsylvania to visit. He wanted to give her a one of a kind eating experience so he offered to come cook a meal for her. It didn’t really have a name, I don’t think, but we just called it delicious. So he sent me a list of ingredients earlier in the week and when Cammy and I were downtown Saturday, we got some “yams” at the market. He asked me what kind we got and I sent him a picture. He told me they were the wrong kind. Those were sweet potatoes and not yams. Then he sent me a screenshot of the wiki page for yams. Yams aren’t even orange. They have no beta carotene at all. They are white like a potato but the outer skin is thicker and kind of resembles tree bark, in my opinion. And the size is different. One yam that he brought over was about the equivalent of 4 sweet potatoes. Big ones, too, not little cute sweet potatoes. This thing was mammoth. I tasted it before we cooked it and it was a completely different texture than a potato and really kind of lacked taste at all except for a slight after taste. So we peeled it and cut some for boiling and some for frying. The boiled ones turned out great. The fried ones we cut too big so they weren’t as appetizing. We also fried some plantain (in coconut oil). And we didn’t just eat that, he made this spinach type of stew/sauce, which was also delicious. It was palm oil, onions, garlic, olive oil, tomato sauce, spinach, ginseng, this seed powder from Ghana and other various spices and seasonings. So we ate the yams with that “stew.”  It was to die for. I seriously told him we needed to start a food truck with his recipes, but he keeps insisting that he isn’t a cook. I beg to differ. Even my picky friend loved it.

But back to this lie. When and where and why did someone decide that a sweet potato is a yam? You go to the grocery store and you go in the can aisle and there are “canned yams,” not “canned sweet potatoes.” What the hell, man?  I definitely argued with Derek over text that they were the same thing because all my life, people have called sweet potatoes yams. People really need to get their acts together. Interesting fact:  yams contain a shitload of fiber and vitamin C. If you want to know the actual details, feel free to google it, but they are super healthy . And it’s a root veggie. And from what I could tell, you can make them the same way you make  regular potatoes, though, I don’t know if you can bake it like one. But I only question that because it was so big. I don’t know how long it would take to cook through. From the size, about four hours. I’ll have to check on that one.

Anyway, this whole trying new things like dating men I normally wouldn’t and trying food I normally wouldn’t is working out rather well. Who knows, if things work out, maybe I can talk Prince Charming into that whole food truck thing and we can feed all of you one day with recipes from the guy who can’t cook.

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