If I close my eyes I can still feel the warmth of the kitchen. I hear Broadway songs coming from the record player and my grandma’s voice singing along and I can almost, just almost, taste my grandma’s buttery candied yams.

My grandparents are the best cooks I've ever known and each Thanksgiving we were treated to a feast like you wouldn't believe. Thanksgiving is also when my grandma would make her candied yams, always a favorite of mine and my siblings.

Although I watched my Bobs (yes- that’s the name I call her) make her candied yams year after year, there never was a recipe written down. I imagine that some of the best foods you ate when you were young also were made of a little of this, a little of that. A pinch of this, a pinch of that, and somehow the dish(es) always came out perfectly.

If you've never made candied yams for Thanksgiving, maybe give it a try this year. While my grandma's recipe isn't written down anywhere, I found this one in my 1950's version of The Joy of Cooking cookbook, adapted it a little and you know what? It came out tasting virtually identical to the dish my grandma used to make. If you give this a try this Thanksgiving, I'd love to know your thoughts!


  • 32oz. can of sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup of pecans (or walnuts- your pick)
  • 7 or 8 large marshmallows cut in half


The first thing you want to do is preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Open and drain the sweet potatoes and then cut them into quarters. Put sweet potatoes in a glass casserole dish and crumble brown sugar over all of it. Cut slices of butter and dot over mixture. The more butter, the yummier. Sprinkle all of this with nuts and then top with marshmallow and make for 20 minutes. For extra gooey candied yams, put a few more marshmallows on top and bake for another 10 minutes or until the marshmallow starts to brown.

[via The Joy of Cooking Cookbook]