,Many, many years ago I met the first love of my life. Two year later I was settling into my own apartment, drinking vats of white zinfandel, and watching Food Network endlessly. Today the only remnant of the Thanksgivings we spent together is Schmoo’s Sweet Potato Casserole recipe.

The thing is, no matter how much we want it, very little stays the same from year to year. I no longer even think about that first love, I (thankfully) no longer drink white zin, and Mario Batali no longer even has a Food Network show. But twice a year, every year, I pull out Schmoo’s recipe and make it for holiday dinner.

I wonder if Schmoo still makes the casserole for her own family; she handed that duty over to me all those years ago, grateful to have reached the age of wine drinking and relaxing at the kitchen table while the younger folk scrambled around and the kids shouted from the basement. Does her family still have this traditional casserole, or has the tradition moved sideways to my family and disappeared entirely from Schmoo’s? How many recipes move that way across time, disappearing from the original family while becoming a staple for another?

Schmoo’s Sweet Potato Casserole

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 cups mashed sweet potatos
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 1 tablespoon orange rind
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  1. Peel and boil sweet potatoes until tender.
  2. Place milk and butter on low heat until butter melts.
  3. Mash sweet potatoes.
  4. Add sweet potatoes, one cup at a time, to milk and butter mixture.
  5. Beat in egg yokes one at a time.
  6. Add pecans, sugar, sherry, orange rind, salt, and nutmeg.
  7. In separate bowl, beat egg whites until still.
  8. Fold egg whites into potato mixture.
  9. Pour into 2 quart casserole and bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes.