Candied Yams with Bacon Pecan Syrup
- PBS.org: A Chef’s Life | Candied Yams with Bacon Pecan Syrup, Season 1, Episode 10
When Grandma Hill made our candied yams, she made them only one way. […] Grandma Hill was strong, always digging in the yard under a white-brimmed hat or making work in her kitchen look easy. She was matter-of-fact, not warm and fuzzy. […] I have this vision of Grandma Hill swinging open our glass porch door with her backside, two casserole dishes in hand and a red wool pencil skirt brushing her stockinged calves. Her husband, Buck (Granddaddy Hill), died from Alzheimer’s in his early sixties, so Grandma forged a life without him and was a fixture at most Sunday lunches and certainly every holiday in our hous. Among other things, she always brought yams. Her yams weren’t yams at all; that’s just waht we called sweet potatoes baked with brown sugar, butter and spices. […] Everything about Grandma’s candied yams personified the woman who made them. […] [Grandma]’d been shaped by the Great Depression and lived every day like she was going to have less tomorrow. With just a touch of sugar, a dab of butter, and spare spices, her candied yams preached moderation too. Grandma’s version of the classic reflected the degree to which she was a realist, a truth talker, and a pragmatic farmer’s wife. Too much sugar was a bad thing, and she warned me on many occasions with a stern look and a swat to the hand that I was “plump enough”. […] Grandma Hill’s candied yams were always the first thing finished at family gatherings. Like her, they were reliable and good. And although I never curled up in the marshmallowy warm cradle of Grandma’s arms, and she never led me to believe I was the best or the brightest kid out there, I knew she was my family. I knew she was the way she was for a reason, and I knew what to expect when I rolled back the foil on her not-so-candied yams.
-Vivian Howard, Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South
Today we’re going to make a modern version of Candied Yams. […] Now I grew up eating candied yams at almost every holiday, every dinner at church, all the time. And I loved them because they were sweet, but they were always just kind of one note and a little bit mushy so this recipe is really meant to counteract those two things. […] It’s a modern take on a southern classic and I think my grandmother would be very proud.
-Vivian Howard, Love Me Some Candied Yams, A Chef’s Life, Season 1 Episode 10, 2013 (Irritatingly, if you live outside the USA, the “full episode” video may not work – it doesn’t for me in Toronto, even though PBS broadcasts to Toronto AND asks for monetary support from Torontonians…. )