Patates Douces

Sweet Potatoes


Sweet potatoes are plentiful and popular in Louisiana, and are put to many uses. The sweet potato (Ipomaea Batatas) belongs to the convolvulus family, and is a tuberous-rooted bindweed, highly nutritious, the roots containing much starch and sugar. They are of a reddish colour, oblong or sometimes club-shaped, usually much larger than the ordinary potato, and very sweet. When cooked the pulp is yellow.

The sweet potato was introduced into England in Tudor times, and is the “potato” alluded to by Shakespeare in the Merry Wives of Windsor, when Falstaff greets Mistress Ford by exclaiming: “Let the sky rain potatoes.” It was apparently more popular in England in those days than the ordinary potato, and John Gerard in his Herball (1597) refers to it as the “common” potato, and he grew it in his garden.

The Creoles eat them sometimes as a separate course, and often as an accompaniment to roast meats, grillades, fricassees, etc.

One of the favourite methods is to bake them. They are well scrubbed, and baked in their skins in a moderate oven till quite soft. As they are large they take much longer than the average potato—any tiling from 1 to 1½ hours. They are served in their jackets.

To roast the potatoes with meat—they are generally served with roast pork—boil them till slightly soft, peel, cut in half, or in quarters if very large, and half an hour before the meat is ready put them in the meat tin and baste frequently.

Fried sweet potatoes are also popular. The potatoes are peeled, cut in somewhat thicker rounds than the usual round chips, and fried in lard or oil till slightly brown.