Sweet Potato Surprise

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! It’s a day when my weekly binge-a-thon is not only pardoned, but encouraged. Aunties pushing buttery carbs into my outstretched arms is a thing of dreams. Iowa Thanksgivings are filled with the traditional American Thanksgiving fare, except there are a million times more Jell-O “salads.”

Iowa Thanksgivings are special not only because of our affinity for Jell-O salads, but because of our long lineage of presented and pardoned turkeys! There are eight pairs of turkeys that have been plucked from their cozy midwestern homes and plopped in front of presidents across the years. Iowa gobblers were present for DC Thanksgivings in 1964, 1976, 1983, 1988, 1991, 2008, and 2016 (Maulsby).

The National Turkey Federation and the Poultry and Egg National Board together started presenting presidents with holiday turkeys in 1946 (History Channel). Many of the presented toms didn’t have a happy ending, they were the special birds chosen for the First Families’ tables.

Some presidents had previously allowed the presented turkeys to live out their days on farms or petting zoos, but George H. W. Bush was the first president credited with the new tradition of pardoning the presented turkeys in 1989. Two years later, he pardoned a couple from Iowa in 1991. The turkeys were raised by Donald Daufeldt from West Liberty, Iowa. The farmer and his birds flew to DC and were treated to dinner on the Washington Hotel terrace, and the turkeys gobbled away the rest of their days at the Kidwell petting zoo in Herndon, Virginia (Washington Post). Usually the turkeys don’t last too long after their pardoning because of their extreme breeding for food, but that’s another story.

This week, I found a simple recipe from 1973 that’s actually pretty tasty! It would be great for an impromptu Friendsgiving or as appetizers before a full family feast.

1973 Sweet Potato Surprise

  • 1 lb can of sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of butter or margarine
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of grated orange peel
  • 4 marshmallows
  • 1 cup of Corn Flakes
  • 1 egg well beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 425° F
  2. In a saucepan, place sweet potatoes, milk, and butter.

IMG_2924      3. Heat until butter is melted

4. Mash potatoes adding salt, pepper, and orange rind.

5. Form into 4 balls with marshmallows in the center of each making sure marshmallows are completely covered.

IMG_2930      6. Roll balls in beaten egg, then cereal.

7. Bake in pie plate for 20-25 minutes or until crusty.

1973 Sweet Potato.png


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