I always knew my mother as a timid cook. And for a long time, I assumed her lack of enthusiasm for the kitchen came from the time involved or the inevitable cleanup. But really, it was because of a yam.
For my mother, a yam was the equivalent of a huge, edible question mark. Not having grown up eating yams, this root vegetable was totally unfamiliar to her. She didn’t know what it looked like or what it tasted like. And the idea of heading to a grocery store to aimlessly wander the aisles or worse yet, eat something with a flavor she detested, kept her from trying anything with yam. Simply put: The unknown was scary and thus, not worth the risk or effort to try cooking with it.