12 ways to prepare sweet potatoes (1898)

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Sweet potatoes

One dozen new ways of preparing them for epicures

Certainly God might have made a tuber better for savor and sustenance than the sweet potato, but certainly God never did. If you doubt the statement, try cooking it after the various manners here set down. Your skepticism will be put to rout as surely as you have a palate.

Potatoes with sausage

Choose potatoes as big as the fist. Wash, but do not peel them, cut them in halves and trim the bottom of each half to lie flat. Scoop a hollow in the cut side of each and fill it with rich, highly-seasoned sausage meat. Set the halves in a baking dish with very little water in the bottom and bake at steady heat until thoroughly done.

Quail in potatoes

Take yams as big as the two fists, cut off one end so they will stand erect and the other so as to form a lid. Then scoop out the middle until it will hold a quail. The birds must be drawn whole, washed, wiped dry, rubbed over with salt and pepper and filled with the scooped potato mixed with plenty of butter. Cut the necks off close and set them in the potatoes breast downward. Fit on the lids and paste a slip of paper at the joint.

Set the potatoes upright in a baking dish and cook for three hours. If the oven is very hot, pour a little water in the dish as it goes in. Send to table in the baking dish, but remove the lids and put a lump of fresh butter upon each bird.

Potato biscuit

Boil, peel and mash, fine, one quart of potatoes. Rub them into one quart of sifted flour and one teaspoonful salt. Work in next one teacup of lard, then add enough sweet milk to make a moderately stiff dough. Roll out to a quarter of an inch thick cut into cakes and bake in a quick oven. Sprinkling sugar over the top is to many palates an improvement.

Sweet potato pone

Add to the mashed potatoes instead of flour sifted corn meal. Melt the lard and wet up with boiling water. Leave the dough very stiff then break into it one at a time two fresh eggs. Work them well through the mass. Take it up by small handfuls, toss them from one hand to the other and flatten them lightly around the sides of a hot baking pan very well greased. Bake quickly until a crisp brown crust forms on top and bottom.

Fried potatoes

Wash well and cut in slices a quarter of an inch thick, drop them in boiling fat and fry to a light brown on both sides. Take out with a fork and sift very lightly with fine salt, then thickly with powdered sugar. Pile pyramid-wise on a hot dish and serve at once.

Potato Gloria

Boil, peel and cut in slices lengthwise a quart of sweet potatoes. Sprinkle the bottom of a baking dish thickly with sugar. Dot the sugar with bits of butter and shredded lemon peel, then add a layer of sliced potatoes. Cover them with sugar, butter and peel — and repeat the layers until the dish is within an inch of the top. The last layer ought to be sugar and extra thick. Now pour in enough sweet wine to come to the topmost layer. Set the dish in a hot oven for 10 minutes and serve very hot. If wine is disapproved, milk, cream, or even water may take its place.

Potato pie

Like the famous little girl, when good, it is very good indeed — and when bad, horrid. Before undertaking it, it is well to understand that next to a crab apple, a sweet potato is the hardest thing to sweeten. Peel and cut in quarter inch slices a quart of potatoes. Cook them until done with one pint of very strong ginger tea, three cups of sugar, generous cup of butter and plenty of lemon peel. Stew gently so the slices will not break.

Line a deep pie dish with good paste [pastry] rolled a quarter of an inch thick. Fill the dish with the potatoes and their syrup to within a long inch of the top. Cover with a crust and cut a cross in the middle of it. Turn back each corner of the cross and cook at steady heat until the pastry is done. Ten minutes before serving, pour in through the hole at top a pint of wine sauce, made thus:

Wine sauce

Cream a cup of butter, then add to it two cups of soft sugar and the juice of a lemon, beaten in a little at a time. Set the mixture over boiling water and beat in gradually half a pint of sweet wine. Stir very hard and do not let the butter get oily so as to separate from the rest.

Potato custard

One quart potatoes, boiled and mashed fine; six eggs, three cups sugar, one cup butter, two cups sweet milk, rind and juice of three lemons. Beat the eggs very light white and yolks together, add sugar and butter, then alternately the potatoes and milk. Add also a pinch of salt, then the grated yellow rind of the lemons and last of all the juice. Beat 5 minutes then pour in pans lined with paste and bake quickly.

Sweet potato coffee

An evolution of the civil war — and the best known substitute. Cut raw potatoes in small dice. Let them dry for six hours, then roast and grind like the genuine article. Is palatable, if used alone. Mixed with one third real coffee, can hardly be told from the best Java. A useful substitute in cases where real coffee has an ill effect on the nerves.

Potato pudding

Peel and grate your sweet potatoes upon a very coarse grater. To a quart grated, take six eggs, a large cup of butter three heaping cups of sugar, a cup of cream, a cup of milk and the juice and rind of a lemon. Beat the eggs very light with the sugar and butter, then add the potatoes then the milk and cream a little at a time. Put in the lemon rind — grated — and the juice last of all. Pour the mixture in a deep dish and set in a hot oven. When it has crusted over the top, stir the crust down so another may form. Do this twice. Serve very hot with plenty of wine sauce.

We don’t understand the title of the recipe below — as we see no cheese, no cake, and no cheesecake-like aspects. But here it is, as originally presented.

Potato cheese cakes

Beat very light the yolks of twelve eggs with one pound of butter, one pound of sugar, the juice and grated rind of three lemons. Set the mixture over hot water and add, beating all the while, a quart of grated raw potato. Line patty pans with puff paste and fill with the batter. Cover quickly and either frost or cover with meringue made from the whites of the eggs.

– Martha McCulloch Williams


Top photo: Sweet potato cultivar Ruddy, by Scott Bauer for the USDA

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