If I could get you to read one book before you head to the table on Thanksgiving, it would be Lionel Shriver’s Big Brother, her intense new novel about the meaning of food (besides survival) in our lives and our relationships.
“Not irresistible tastiness but the very failure of food to reward is what drives us to eat more of it” is just a sample of the many quotes I’ve marked to remember. Or how about “From the first book of the Bible, food correlates with evil, and I felt contaminated”?
Shriver, you may remember, wrote the creepy “We Need to Talk About Kevin” (2003). This sister’s attempt to get her morbidly obese brother to lose weight is creepy in a different way. Both books are completely engrossing — just what you need when the weather outside is frightful.
And if I could get you to try one dish for that table, it would be these twice-baked sweet potatoes from an old Taste of Home calendar. I have never, ever licked out the bowl when fixing sweet potatoes. This morning I did.
I’m not a fan of the heavily spiced sweet potato casseroles coated in marshmallows. You can’t taste the sweet potatoes’ natural goodness (the taste Stoic the Vast loves in sweet potato pie).
But Ms. Linda Call of Falun, KS, has created a dish that neither overwhelms the sweet potato taste nor overloads it with sugar. It is as close to perfect as I’m going to see this holiday. You can make any size dish you wish — I tripled the recipe for us.
Twice-baked sweet potatoes
2 medium sweets
2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1 packed tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons chopped and toasted pecans
Pierce sweet potatoes and bake until tender. When cool enough to handle, cut thin slice off top of each potato and discard . Scoop out pulp, leaving thin shells.
With electric mixer mash pulp with cream cheese and other ingredients. Spoon back into potato shells. Place on baking sheet and heat for 15 to 20 minutes at 375.º
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