I don’t cook. I never really have, I get all my meals from the dining hall at school, and from my parents at home, and on the occasions when I do have to prepare food for myself, I typically just throw something in a microwave. Living in a dorm with 600 people and only one kitchen doesn’t help either, so even if I wanted to cook it would be very difficult for me to do so. You must understand this in order to understand the significance of this article.
Every now and then, its important to try new things in life to broaden your horizons, gain valuable skills and experience and help you escape from your daily grind. In light of this and despite of my lack of skills and experience, I decided to help cook for Thanksgiving. My aunt and uncle hosted this year, and they were in charge of making the turkey, but there were still other dishes to be made, and that’s where I came in. This year, my family was in charge of making some of the side dishes, and I decided to help my mom prepare the sweet potato caramel. This dish is actually fairly simple to make (which in my case is for the best). It involves the following; sweet potatoes (obviously), butter, milk, salt and pepper and maple syrup. Preparation is fairly simple: first peel and mash as many sweet potatoes as you think necessary (I used two for about 20 people), make sure to boil the potatoes to make them easier to mash. Next melt ¼ cup of butter in a pot and mix it with ½ cup of syrup, make sure this get added to the dish last. Next, add milk, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Finally bake it in the oven for 45 minutes at 400 degrees, and add the melted butter and syrup. Once that’s all done, its time to put it in a casserole dish beside your turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing and enjoy it with your friends and family. I shared mine with my extended family Thanksgiving day, and everyone seemed to enjoy it, and I enjoyed getting the opportunity to catch up with them. I was actually surprised at how simple this dish was to make, it only took me about an hour and fifteen minutes to make, and the recipe is simple enough that I could probably make it again by myself. If I could make this dish with no problem at all, I’m sure you could too.
All in all, I think this was a valuable experience, and an enjoyable one. I think the experience and insights will be helpful to me next year, when I move into an apartment with a kitchen and hopefully begin cooking some of my own food. It also gave me something I haven’t had many opportunities to do lately, spend time with my mom. She helped walk me through the process, and I appreciated our time. This holiday season, I would encourage you all to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. If you normally celebrate Christmas at home with your family, perhaps this year you can volunteer at a soup kitchen, or homeless shelter Christmas day, and if you normally serve at a homeless shelter Christmas day, then maybe this year you can try a more traditional Christmas. And maybe, you can even try making sweet potato caramel.