Did you ever Wonder? A grab bag of information.

So, now that I am blogging more often, I’m almost always looking for topics to write about. Here are a few quickies that came up over the weekend….

  • What is the difference between sweet potatoes and yams?

http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/sweetpotato.html

Although yams and sweet potatoes are both angiosperms (flowering plants), they are not related botanically. Yams are a monocot (a plant having one embryonic seed leaf) and from the Dioscoreaceae or Yam family. Sweet Potatoes, often called ‘yams’, are a dicot (a plant having two embryonic seed leaves) and are from the Convolvulacea or morning glory family. 

Why the confusion?In the United States, firm varieties of sweet potatoes were produced before soft varieties. When soft varieties were first grown commercially, there was a need to differentiate between the two. African slaves had already been calling the ‘soft’ sweet potatoes ‘yams’ because they resembled the yams in Africa. Thus, ‘soft’ sweet potatoes were referred to as ‘yams’ to distinguish them from the ‘firm’ varieties.

  • How can you soften a not-quite-ripe Avocado to use in guacamole? 

I found a few answers to this one online. They included things like putting them in a bag with a banana or apple for a few days, microwaving them for 30 seconds, putting them through a potato ricer.

As is turns out I had one ripe avocado and two that were hard as rock. I tried the potato ricer method, no luck, too hard. Then I tried microwaving them, no on that one too. Finally I chopped them up and ran them through a food processor. No, they didn’t get all lovely and creamy but at least the pieces were small enough to mix with the other ingredients and the one ripe avocado. So our guacamole was a little on the chunky side…

  • What’s the definition of a serenade?  Must it involve singing?

My dear husband is re-teaching himself how to play guitar and sometimes in the evening he will play and I’ll say “Oh, you’re serenading me.” He insisted that a serenade had to be a song that was sung, my opinion was that it could be any kind of music, vocal or not. So I looked it up. This one was not as clear an answer as I had hoped, but I did find this definition from Webster’s Dictionary:

SerenadeHowever, most of the other definitions did say it was only music that was sung. So, while I will still believe his evening guitar playing is a serenade…. not everyone would agree.

So what do you wonder about?


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