I’ve Never Eaten A Yam

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Day 20 - Sweet Potatoes Vs Yams - Doodlewash

As it turns out, yams aren’t sweet potatoes, even though the terms were used interchangeably when I was growing up. Thanksgiving would arrive, often with that crazy casserole of marshmallows and sweet potatoes and some folks would refer to them as yams. I grew up thinking that the terms were the same and then grew up a little more to learn that they refer to completely different vegetables they aren’t even botanically related. And they’re both weird so they made for a rather bizarre little sketch, no matter how you slice it, so I just spent 15 minutes on this one. The orange potatoes that we loved are quite different from the the white yams that look like little hairy cavemen clubs. It struck me that I’ve never sampled one of the latter “official yams” and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one in person. All these years, the mistaken nomenclature has given me false confidence that I knew what I was actually consuming. That said, I have to admit to never liking the sweet potato and marshmallow casserole. It was just too odd and I’ve never comes to terms with it either.

A quick note for those of you following the saga that has been the gallery upload problems on this site. The problem still persists, though we’ve narrowed it down to a WordPress update last week that wreaked some havoc. I’m still trying to figure out a solve and looking into a backup solution, so thanks so much for your patience. In the interim, please try using the little image icon to the right of the post box as that one should still work, even if it doesn’t post to the gallery, and you can still share what you’ve made. While making a website like this one is kind of fun, it’s insanely complex and I often find I’m in a bit over my head. That, of course, doesn’t stop me in the least as that’s pretty much how I’ve spent my entire life. I always think it’s best to just jump into something with glee and figure it out as you go along. Problems may occur, but they’re only there to challenge us to create better solutions.

The fun part about life is that there’s always something new to learn. Around every corner, there’s some incredible new bit of knowledge waiting that you never knew before. That’s been my experience with painting. Although I think I have a general idea of what I’m doing, some days, I’m feel confused once more. Watercolor is like that. It doesn’t always do what you’d expect, but it does what it likes and if you let it just do its thing, you’ll often like what it chooses for you. Sure, some days, you might hate it, but mostly, if you just lean into it, you’ll be amazed at what happens next. And that’s why I love painting with this medium. It’s never a dull moment, and you’re never quite in control. It’s an adventure of the best kind and I love it. Even on the days when I’m not sure what’s happening, I know I’ll learn something new. Much like that day when I very first discovered, I’ve never eaten a yam.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Benzimida Orange, Red Rose Deep, Yellow Ochre, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
#WorldWatercolorGroup - Day 20 - Sweet Potatoes Vs Yams - Doodlewash

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!

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38 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 2 months ago

    I’m not sure that I’ve ever eaten a yam either. I suspect that most Americans haven’t. I love the sweet potato/marshmallow casserole (and Sweet Potato pie too, which tastes an awful lot like pumpkin pie). I’ll eat the sweet potato casserole and you can have the green been casserole (which I don’t like even sans can). Meanwhile, I’ll enjoy your beautiful yam/potato painting!

    • Edwina Jill Mordasky 2 months ago

      I am so crazy about them…I usually cook a big one in the microwave in a thick pouch….when done I mash it with some butter and brown sugar….and sometimes freeze it in plastic bag…ready to eat or add to anything that wants mashed potatoes, pies, cookies or muffin. Your painting is marvelous…and made me drool !

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      hehe… thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 Oh, I think if you had Philippe’s version of green bean casserole, you’d be converted! It’s amazing and so different from the original!

      • Sandra Strait 2 months ago

        Perhaps I’ll be lucky enough to find someone with Philippe’s talent, who will cook up a good green bean casserole for me one of these days..

  2. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 2 months ago

    You always have the most original outlook on the world, Charlie. So interesting to read and see your daily Doodlewash.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Aww thanks so much, Sharon!! 😃💕 I really appreciate hearing that! Glad you like these posts!

  3. Jacob 2 months ago

    Curious doodlewash and a lovely colour combination! I most certainly have never sampled a yam. I only really know they exist because a poem I studied at school kept mentioning them!

    Fingers crossed on the gremlins front!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      hehe… yeah… yams are still just a mystery to me in the end! LOL But yay to gremlins… I definitely have to make a point to watch that this year! 😃💕

  4. Pamela Smith 2 months ago

    Well who knew,you are a wealth of information….great job on the painting of the two thingys…😁

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Pamela! 😃💕 LOL … yeah… they are just a couple of thingies, eh? Not my first choice for a painting, but illustrates the story at least!

  5. Marrianne Wadley 2 months ago

    Nice. And I have spent some time thinking about just jumping in. Something I never, ever do…. but am considering it….. one of the biggest blocks for my painting.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks, Marrianne! 😃💕 And you should totally jump in… always… hehe… life is just more fun and rewarding that way!

  6. Hans B. 2 months ago

    Both are delicious to me!

  7. Chris Malone 2 months ago

    Beautiful, as always. I can’t wait for my fountain pen and sepia ink to come. Then I can create like you, right? 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      hehe… absolutely!! I do think sepia ink is rather magical and will happily credit it for all my recent illustrations! 😃💕

  8. SnehLata Maheshwari 2 months ago

    Haaà that sweet potato is very common here. The art of itself is lovely good shades
    Good for health.we bake ,peel.cut ,in cubs , mixed salt ,black pepper,n lime juice.try
    This hope you like this.specialy with 🍷.
    Happy painting Charlie.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Snehlata! 😃💕 And it all sounds so yummy!! Delicious!

  9. memadtwo 2 months ago

    I never liked those marshmallow casseroles either…
    Happy Thanksgiving, Charlie! (K)

    • Kaye Boggs 2 months ago

      I confess that I have a little bit of that sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top every year at Thanksgiving as it’s someone in the family’s favorite thing and her grandmother makes it for her. I kind of like it once a year. I have never had a Yam either. That’;s kind of a funny word, actually.

      • Author
        Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

        hehe… yay! Traditions are the best part of this time of year! 😃💕

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      hehe.. yay! I’m not alone! Thanks, Kerfe! 😃💕 And a very happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as well!

  10. June Hadaway 2 months ago

    So real lokking. Love the colors.

  11. Jill Gustavis 2 months ago

    I’ve always seen the marshmallow version, but we always mixed ours with butter and brown sugar, using less and less as we got older and my mom didn’t have to bribe us to eat our veggies. I enjoy my sweet potatoes as seasoned baked wedges (or chunky fries) or in spicy tuna cakes, mmmm. Never had a yam, just to add to the record.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Yeah… yams are just a mystery I think to many of us! LOL But YUM! Your description has me drooling, Jill! 😃💕 You make it sound delicious!

  12. Thomas Blanchard 2 months ago

    I’m pretty sure i’ve never had a true yam either but have had my share of sweet potatoes in many forms. Nice job on the textures in your painting Charlie.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Tom! 😃💕 Yeah, in the end, I think sweet potato fries are probably my favorite way to eat them. hehe

  13. Susan Cuss 2 months ago

    I’ve not eaten a yam either, but I do like oven roasted sweet potato wedges all spiced. Great painting. I’ve also not had the sweet potato-marshmallow casserole– it sounds too sweet and gooey.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Yeah… it’s kind of sweet of gooey as I remember. I only tried it once and never went back. But oven roasted? YUM!! 😃💕

  14. Jennifer McLean 2 months ago

    LOL.Yep, same in Canada. Even worse, we have two competing grocery stores who label each differently. One insists white is a real yam, the other insists its a sweet potato. I can never remember but just go for the darkest color, those colors always add more health to a food. I just treat them like a potato. Best thing ever is to pair them with turnip, baby red potatoes and parsnip. Cook and mash them all separately, spicing them appropriately for each veg (we just look up what spices go with each veg each year, hell with a recipe, lol) Then layer them one on top of the other. Store in fridge until needed then heat in oven for about ¾ of an hour to heat through. This cuts down on the starchiness of potatoes and adds interesting flavors sweet potato and parsnip. The only thing you have to be careful of is to drain the turnip REALLY well as it tends to soak up water and be too liquid in the end. YUMM.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Oh wow!! I think I missed the last bit of recipe as I just started drooling over my keyboard. YUM! That sounds delicious!! 😃💕

      • Jennifer McLean 2 months ago

        it is and it’s one hell of a lot better for you than just plain mashed potatoes!! YAY!

  15. Sandra Gilbert 2 months ago

    I just discovered that yams and sweet potatoes aren’t the same too. I love sweet potatoes but I have obviously never had a yam. Not sure if I want to eat one, but I will put it on my list of things to try. 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      hehe… it’s definitely on mine, but I have no idea where to get them! 😊

      • Sandra Gilbert 2 months ago

        Um… actually neither do I Hmmm we need to research this. 😄

  16. Sharon Nolfi 2 months ago

    I like the look and the taste of yams best. Nice renditions of both.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 months ago

      Thanks! 😃💕 Yeah, I still think I must try a true yam one day! hehe

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