What the Heck Is Pone?

Every family has their holiday food traditions, right? How much to you want to bet you’ve never heard of anything like mine?

Any thoughts…

No? Ok, then. I’ll clue you in. But first, I must ask – Has anybody out there (outside of my immediate family) ever heard of anything called Sweet Potato Pone?

I didn’t think so. I’ve never said those words to any non-immediate family member who didn’t utter “Huh? A sweet potato what?” in response. But that’s it. That’s our It’s-Just-Not-Thanksgiving-or-Christmas-Dinner-If-We-Don’t-Have-This-Dish dish. Sweet Potato Pone. What is it exactly? You mean, aside from the most awesome way to eat sweet potatoes? Well, it’s sort of a cross between a sweet potato casserole and a sweet potato bread.

The idea of trying to explain this dish to the internet at large prompted me to do a quick Google search for “pone.” Pone is apparently some sort of bread my by Native Americans with cornmeal, basically the ancestor of what we now call cornbread.

Ok. So that makes sense to me as, again, this Sweet Potato Pone is a hybrid of a casserole and a bread. Generally, it’s pretty easy to make…that is once you get past the very first step. I’m not going to lie to you, folks, the first step is a pain in the A**!!

What is this wretched step, you ask? It’s grating 3 cups of sweet potatoes. You’ve basically got to turn this

into this

Since my family scarfs this stuff, we usually double the recipe…meaning we need 6 cups of grated sweet potatoes, which amounts to grating up about 6 sweet potatoes.  My baby sister and I had to take it in shifts, so that we didn’t wind up with shriveled claws for hands!

In the past I’ve always used your standard issue cheese grater. This year I decided to try my Pampered Chef Rotary Grater. I don’t know that I would say that this device made the grating easier, but it certainly did reduce the likelihood that I would shave off slivers of my finger or knuckles into the sweet potatoes as I grated…and grated…and grated…

After that, it’s a piece o’ cake…just mixing your standard baking ingredients and popping it in the oven.

I can not stress enough the importance of the inclusion of flour in the recipe…particularly self-rising flour.  This is a minor detail my grandmother failed to include when I attempted to make this for BG’s family the first Thanksgiving we were married.  As a result, I basically served them sweet potato soup.  I kept trying to explain to them that this was wrong…so very, very wrong.  They ate it anyway with weird grimacing smiles, but I haven’t been asked to bring it back to any of the subsequent holidays we’ve shared over the last 11 yrs.

Trust me, though, when you include all the appropriate ingredients – BAM! So very, very yummy!

Here’s the official recipe:

  • 3 cups grated raw sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c melted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tbsp self-rising flour
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Mix in the order listed above. Bake at 350-375 degrees for ~45-60 min until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Enjoy!  What about you?  In this holiday season, what are your family food traditions…or mishaps?  I’d love to hear them!

Cheers, y’all!

Wine Girl

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