Cooked carrots are one thing. Yams are quite another. While I suspected I wouldn't eat much of the maple-glazed carrots, I knew for certain, that I wouldn't have more than the tiniest bite of the cranberry yam bake. In fact, I was quite relieved when I saw that the half-recipe I was making called for only 1 cup of cranberries---less tart deliciousness wasted by being polluted with yams. The wife, on the other hand, was dancing with anticipation at the yams and was dreading the sourness of the cranberries ruining her yams.
When my mom was a baby, my grandmother related to me, the only food she wouldn't eat was sweet potatoes. Me, I am like my mama. I have never liked yams or sweet potatoes. Nor, I suspect, could I tell you the difference between the two. I know I've heard that true yams are rarely sold in the States. Otherwise, I could muddle my way through a faked explanation, but it's better, if you're curious, to read this: http://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-between-yams-and-sweet-potatoes-word-of-mouth-211176. Me, I just know I don't like them.
Or do I? When I made the recipe, I felt revulsion at even putting my tongue to the little portion on my fork. Amazingly, it was delicious! Perhaps because it was more akin to dessert than to a vegetable, given the oat streusel both mixed in with the canned yams and sprinkled on top (under a layer of toasted mini-marshmallows)? Perhaps because I accidentally forgot to halve the amount of butter I put in the streusel topping, forcing myself to go back and add the other half of all the rest of the streusel ingredients, too, resulting in twice as much brown sugary, cinnamony goodness as the recipe actually calls for? Perhaps the fact that it was studded with jewel-like bursts of translucent cranberry zing in contrast to the yams' opaque richness? Whatever made the difference, I had a hard time stopping at one serving. My mom did, too. My wife? She loved it despite the (oh, horrible of horribles!) cranberries.
We'll be hosting Practice Thanksgiving on the 22nd and this dish is tops on my list of possible dishes to serve. It's a wonderfully different twist on the usual Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole. And, if you get distracted by the making of another dish (apple raisin carrot salad, in this case) and burn the marshmallows during the broiling process, it's really easy to lift off the gooey, blackened mess and toss on another round of mini-marshmallows to try again. Paying attention this time.