My dream is to be the type of woman who can walk into a kitchen and whip up an amazing meal without a recipe. I am not that type of woman.
A recipe is my crutch, my guide, and my lifeline. Without a recipe I am officially lost in the kitchen, until I’ve made the dish about 150 times. Then I finally feel comfortable to fly alone. There’s a recipe I love that’s been passed down for generations in my family. I’m sharing my journey as part of a sponsored series commissioned by Wells Fargo as part of the #MyUntold campaign.
In 1999, when I was working as a TV reporter in Youngstown, Ohio I was invited to participate in a celebrity cooking contest. I couldn’t bear to tell the student who invited me that I didn’t know how to cook anything. So I agreed to the contest and immediately called the best cook I know, my Mom.
I told her I needed something simple that I could make and it would have to be fool proof. Her delicious sweet potato pie came to mind. I’d enjoyed it for every Thanksgiving dinner celebration of my life. We love sweet potatoes so much that my Mom cooks it in a variety of ways; in pie and “candied” where they’re covered with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter.
My Mom rattled off the recipe right off the top of her head. Yet another way she’s better than me in the kitchen. Just as I was about to give her all the credit, she told me this sweet potato pie recipe came from her maternal grandmother who’d died decades before I was born. My Mom doesn’t think we have any photos of her grandmother, Ida Louise Brown. But I can tell from the taste of her sweet potato pie, that she loved to make delicious food for her family. Now I am part of a four-generation legacy of a sharing a delicious pie recipe.
I wrote down what my Mother told me and confidently made the pies in time for the celebrity-cooking contest. I am proud to tell you that I am the 1999 “Best Chef” for the Youngstown State University National Pan Hellenic Council Celebrity Taste-Off. Once I won my plaque, I felt confident enough to make sweet potato pies as Thanksgiving gifts for friends. Before I leave town to visit our family in New York, I like to drop off a pie or two.
Sweet Potato Pie Recipe
Would you like to know how to make my great-grandmother’s sweet potato pie? Here’s the recipe that makes two pies:
2 ½ pounds of sweet potatoes
2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon
4 eggs (room temperature
2 sticks of butter (softened)
1- 5 oz. can of evaporated milk
2 cups of granulated sugar (substitute one cup with brown sugar for added flavor)
2 tbsp. of vanilla extract
2 frozen pie crusts (or make your own)
Steam or bake sweet potatoes until extremely soft. Remove sweet potato the skin.
Combine the sweet potatoes and the rest of the ingredients in a standing mixer until it has a smooth consistency.
Divide and pour the mixture into the pie crusts.
Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes (or longer to brown the crust). Let cool and serve.
One day, I hope to show our son how to make sweet potato pie and even share it with his wife. I would love for the pie tradition to continue for future generations of our family. Is there a recipe your family has passed down from generation to generation? Who’s the person in your family who makes it the best?
Share your family’s food traditions below and on social media with the #MyUntold hashtag. You can find more inspiring stories on the Wells Fargo YouTube channel.
This was a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Wells Fargo Bank.