Discover the Sweet Potato Casserole's journey to becoming a beloved Thanksgiving staple

Thanksgiving Would Not Be Complete Without This

Imagine Thanksgiving without the sweet, comforting presence of the Sweet Potato Casserole. Difficult, isn't it? This scrumptious dish has become such an integral part of our Thanksgiving meals that it's hard to envision the festive table without it. But have you ever wondered about the origins of this delicious dish? Or, have you ever wondered why it includes marshmallows? Let's delve into the history of the Sweet Potato Casserole and discover its journey to becoming a quintessential part of our Thanksgiving tradition.

Marshmallows were one of the first packaged, pre-prepared foods available. This led to their inclusion in this Thanksgiving staple. (Photo by

The Roots of the Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes have been cultivated for thousands of years, with their origins traced back to Central and South America. Christopher Columbus is believed to have brought sweet potatoes to Europe after his first voyage to the New World in 1492. However, it was not until the 16th century that sweet potatoes became a part of North American cuisine, specifically in the southern states, due to the region's ideal growing conditions.

The Birth of a Thanksgiving Staple

The transformation of sweet potatoes into a casserole dish that we all know and love began in the early 20th century. The first recipe of a sweet potato casserole was published in a Boston Cooking School cookbook by Fannie Farmer in 1896. This early version of the dish was a savory one, with no marshmallows in sight. Marshmallows were one of the first pre=prepared, packaged foods, it became sweet when the marshmallow production company, Angelus Marshmallows, sought innovative ways to market their product in the 1910s. They came up with a brilliant idea and published a cookbook featuring recipes using marshmallows. One of these recipes was a sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows. The sweet and savory combination was a hit, and it eventually became a classic Thanksgiving dish, especially in the Southern United States.

The Modern Sweet Potato Casserole

Today, there are countless variations of the sweet potato casserole. Some recipes include spices like cinnamon or nutmeg, while others feature a crumbly topping of brown sugar and pecans. There's even a vegan version, which substitutes marshmallows for a maple syrup and pecan topping. Despite these variations, the essence of the sweet potato casserole remains the same—a sweet, comforting dish that reminds us of home, family, and the warmth of Thanksgiving.

What Wine Works Best With Sweet Potato Casserole?

The sweet potato casserole has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Its journey from a simple sweet potato dish to a beloved Thanksgiving staple is a testament to its enduring appeal. So, this Thanksgiving, as you enjoy a heaping serving of sweet potato casserole, take a moment to appreciate the rich history behind this cherished dish. After all, every bite of sweet potato casserole is a bite of culinary history. To fully appreciate it, try pairing it with a glass of off-dry German Riesling or a bold California Zinfandel.

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