Last week, my mother and our friend Debbie talked oyster dressing with the same polite fervor and thoroughness that must have characterized the Lincoln-Douglas debates. My mother tinkled the ice in a glass of ultra-weak Scotch and trumpeted her mother's beef-centric recipe, while Debbie threw garden herbs in a pot of red beans and defended her own mother's meatless version. All the while I listened and thought: conversations like this just didn't happen in Oklahoma.
It's good to be home.
When I was away at grad school, I had some beautiful Thanksgivings with friends and colleagues willing to adopt a lonely Southern orphan too poor to fly home from the Plains. I wouldn't trade those Thanksgivings; they were wonderful. But for me, there's nothing to match the beauty and comfort and deliciousness of an only-in-New-Orleans Thanksgiving, the kind that features oyster dressing, stuffed mirliton, and these sweet potatoes with praline sauce. Once you try this praline sauce, you'll swear off mini-marshmallows forever.
From Recipes and Reminiscences of New Orleans Volume II
2 (16 or 17 oz.) cans yams, drained
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
Arrange yams in greased baking dish. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add cream, sugar, pecans, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Simmer and stir five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over yams and bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Serves 6.