• Karine Wlasichuk

It’s Beginning to Taste a Lot Like Christmas: a Cream of Sweet Potatoes and Clove

Updated: May 1, 2020

Take a look in the five and ten, glistening once again, with candy canes and silver lanes aglowwwwww! If you work in a mall, I'm very sorry for this moment. I'm sure this is the 10th time you hear it today. You see, my sister and I grew up in a Martha Stewart's Living-subscribed home, where Christmas time was basically a culmination of the entire year or reading recipes and decoration ideas, when our mother would go nuts with the nutcrackers, the Victorian era decorations, the golden angel ribbons, the Champagne and the oysters- and do not get me started on the Tiffany bows, they are fabulous. It only became better and better as we grew older because we could actually appreciate Champagne and oysters. Also my sister discovered that Santa did not exist when she was about 3 (when she saw my parents eating the cookies she so thoughtfully placed under the tree for him) and told me the minute I was able to talk. THANKS ELLIE. Pretty sure my tooth fairy story is the same. Hmm. So Christmas quickly became all about family time rather than Santa and well, of course, the angel on top of the tree being a constant reminder that the old ladies at the Church didn't trust me with a real candle to sing at the annual play and I had to walk around with a fake plastic one. Meanwhile my sister got to play the Virgin Mary in the nativity scene like a superstar. But aren't shame and guilt at the forefront of Catholicism anyways? Just kidding, I loved it as it made me feel like a cool angel who rebelled- joke's on you, ladies from the Lennoxville parish (Dorothy? Anne? Linda!?- the one with the yellow bible). Just so we're clear, they were scared I would burn down the entire building with my clumsiness. Not to worry, I got my revenge when we switched to the parish closest to our house and school: the priest there recognised my stardom and made me read the universal prayer at the Sunday masses with my *enchanting* voice and I felt like the entire service depended on my performance. A star was born.

I am not only very thankful for the amazing memories of waking up surrounded by tons of snow, trees from the forest and bright lights, but also inspired to create my own pre-Christmas traditions with my daughter. Let it be known that the actual Christmas day and night will still be spent at my parents' (my father married the Queen of Christmas and I am not about to start competing- also thanks for doing all the work!) but I am still excited for things like her very first advent calendar, getting her the perfect Christmas dress and helping her pair the shoes (my sister and I treated Christmas like a fashion show for the longest time, ordering a special gown online weeks in advance and texting each other all about it- then it was time for a very serious photoshoot). Then there's the decorating of the gingerbread house, the Christmas cookies, the festive Ukrainian cooking, the Grinch, red wine for me, just so much to look forward to! Also, what's the healthy limit in terms of daily eggnog consumption? Don't answer that. I will, however, happily leave the pre-ordering of the turkey, imported Panneton, the perfect tree and Champagne bottles to my parents. Big thanks from the daughters!

So whilst you sip on your Starbucks Christmas drink (seriously how many times did I type this word already), here is a great cream of sweet potatoes to get you *and your kitchen* in a festive mood! So simple, made within minutes and tastes like a CHRISTMAS CAROL. But seriously don't be a Scrooge and try it out. I am currently typing this next to my balsam-scented candle and I am so excited I could cry.

You will need,

Garlic cloves (3)

Sweet potatoes (2)

Golden potatoes (3)

Kosher salt

Black pepper

Olive oil (2 tbsp)

Powdered clove (1 teaspoon- a tiny amount goes a long way)

Garlic and Basil broth (2 1/2 cups- any vegetable or even chicken broth will do)

Cinnamon sticks, for garnish

A few simple steps,

1. Peel all potatoes and set aside

2. In a large pot over medium heat, toss the crushed garlic in the olive oil for about 1 minute, until fragrant

3. Add potatoes, salt, pepper and broth

4. Bring to a boil

5. Lower the heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes

6. In 1 or 2 separate batches, blend in any blender (judging on how quickly your potatoes cooked, you might want to add a little water so the engine does not overheat, it starts smelling like burnt rubber and it's no good, keep it on the watery side, without compromising your flavours. Under half a cup of tap water is enough)

A touch of cinnamon adds to this exciting sensory Christmas experience.