2690. Roasted yams
© Bruce Goodman 10 April 2023

It was rather exciting. The most prestigious cooking magazine in the country made an announcement: Send us your favourite recipe for cooking yams. The recipe selected will be published and the winner will receive a year’s subscription to our magazine.

Raewyn-Ruth Beavis not only loved to cook; she loved yams. Her only problem with such a yam recipe competition was that she didn’t know which recipe to send. The rules had said “Only one recipe per address”.

Whenever she had guests Raewyn-Ruth would have a side dish of yams. It was more of a conversation piece. Most people didn’t use yams in their cooking, let alone provide them at a dinner party. Raewyn-Ruth always had potatoes as a side as well, because what if some guests didn’t like yams. In fact, Derrida Gladstone, Raewyn-Ruth’s friend, thought they looked a little, um…, distasteful.

“Yams!” Derrida would explain at a dinner party, “They look a little, um…, distasteful.” Of course in New Zealand where they lived, unlike the rest of the world, sweet potatoes are not called yams, they are called kumara. Yams are a South American vegetable called oca in their place of origin. So yams are oca not sweet potatoes! Oca is not to be confused with okra. Such would be the frequent scintillating conversation at one of Raewyn-Ruth’s dinner parties. Occasionally someone would ask for the recipe.

So what to send to the competition? In the end Raewyn-Ruth decided upon “Yams Roasted in Coconut Milk”. She sent it off.

Imagine her excitement when she opened the envelope of the mailed magazine a few weeks later! There slap-bang on the front cover was “WINNER! Yams Roasted in Coconut Milk” And there was the recipe on page 7. The winner was Derrida Gladstone. She had entered Raewyn-Ruth’s recipe under her own name.

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