Many of the dishes we traditionally serve at Thanksgiving were not consumed by the Pilgrims in 1621 (I have researched this). For example, they didn’t have sweet potatoes, but since they are indigenous New World vegetables, they work well in our Thanksgiving feast. But how did we ever come up with sweet potato casserole with toasted marshmallows on top? It makes for a strangely sweet side dish, especially since we already have sugar-laden cranberry sauce.
It turns out this recipe is another of the many examples of food manufacturers creating recipes to use their products. The first mass producer of marshmallows joined Campbell’s soup and Jell-O gelatin in concocting cook books showing ways to use their product, in 1917. This even predates s’mores. But it still makes the recipe more than a hundred years old, and in the United States, that’s plenty long enough to make a tradition. Read the history of marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes at Mental Floss.
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