Thanksgiving in the White House, including sweet potato recipe

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In 1789 George Washington declared November 26th a national day of “public thanksgiving,” and every year since then, thanks have been given throughout the nation. The tradition of preparing a large feast was not fully embraced (at least at the White House) until the 1840s when James K. Polk sat down to the first official White House Thanksgiving meal.

Since then, each passing First Family has altered and added to the Thanksgiving tradition with their unique contributions of food preferences and customs. Did you know that Harry S. Truman started the annual White House tradition of pardoning a turkey before Thanksgiving?

The Obama family tradition includes one of the First Family’s favorites — sweet potatoes. This delicious and healthy recipe for White House Whipped Sweet Potatoes was enjoyed by the Obamas and around 50 guests in 2009, and is featured in “A White House Garden Cookbook: Healthy Ideas from the First Family for Your Family” by Clara Silverstein.

White House Whipped Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4

3 medium (12 to 16 ounces each) sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground cumin
⅛ teaspoon chili powder
Pinch of ground cloves
4 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt to taste

1. Set the oven at 425 degrees.
2. Wash the potatoes, pat dry, and wrap each one in foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake until soft all the way through, approximately one hour cooking time will vary depending on the size of he potatoes).
3. Remove the potatoes from the oven. Unwrap the foil and allow them to cool enough to handle.
4. Cut each potato in half. Scoop out the inside and place in a large mixing bowl.
5. Add the butter, cinnamon, cumin, chili powder, cloves, orange juice, and lemon juice. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment on medium speed, whip the potatoes until smooth and all the ingredients are incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
6. Add the salt and serve.

“A White House Garden Cookbook: Healthy Ideas from the First Family for Your Family” includes other Thanksgiving recipes from the White House and community gardens around the country, such as Fennel-Parsnip Puree, Pear & Fennel Salad, Kohlrabi & Carrot Stew, Tasty Greens with Turnips, Baby Carrots with Orange Juice & Cinnamon, Nutty Carrot & Cabbage Salad, various salsas, White House Baked Sliced Apples, and White House Apple Pie.

The book is now available at 40% off, for just $15. Learn more about the book and how Thanksgiving is celebrated at the White House by visiting www.CommunityGardenRecipes.com.

Photos and recipe courtesy of Red Rock Press.

San Diego resident for over 10 years, I now call this beautiful city home. Originally from the Bay Area, I'm a California girl at heart. I love the outdoors, fitness, food, and a good craft beer (from San Diego of course).

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