"That's Hot" Sweet Potato Casserole


The real name of this dish is “Madeira Sweet Potato Casserole”. But ever since a friend’s husband, inadvertently renamed it a few Thanksgiving dinners ago, this name, said with a few winks and grins, has stuck.

Invited to their home for Thanksgiving, I was asked to bring my “famous” braided Challah, a sweet potato side dish of my choosing, and a “non-pumpkin” desert because my friend informed me that, “No one can match my pumpkin pie.” I decided to make a chocolate pecan tart, which I figured was as far from pumpkin as possible.

She’d spent weeks planning her menu, pouring through Food & Wine, Epicurious, Sunset and Cooking Light magazines and cookbooks. Her table was beautifully appointed, a work of art that could easily have been photographed for any fine-food magazine. Beautiful linen tablecloths, sparkling crystal, and flickering candlelight set the stage for a formal five course dinner, the first three courses deserving and equal to the ambiance and setting. Subtle background chamber music intermingled with genteel, polite conversation, when suddenly – as loud and shocking as if someone popped a huge balloon – her husband exclaimed, “That’s Hot!”