My favorite Thanksgiving cartoon — and admittedly, that is a small sub-genre — is the Looney Tunes short, “Tom Turk and Daffy.”
In it, the titular turkey seeks help from Daffy Duck while trying to evade a hungry pilgrim (Porky Pig) looking to have him for Thanksgiving dinner. Daffy’s loyalty to his brother-in-wings is tested when Porky begins to describe all the trimmings of his now ill-fated meal. It breaks completely when Porky gets to the candied yams.
Sobbing at the realization of his weakness and betrayal, Daffy cries out, “The yams did it! The yams did it! Those nasty yams!”
Considering yams a Thanksgiving-only confection is Yankee thinking. No Southern meat-and-three worth its salt and lard would even consider not having yams on the menu year-round.
When you think about it, they’re the perfect dish. Is it a starch? A vegetable? A side dish? A dessert? The answer to all of those is a resounding “Yes!” And the best part is, no one will judge you if you have candied yams as one of your vegetables and then get some red velvet cake for dessert. Let’s see ambrosia or manner puddin’ pull that off.
“But why,” you might ask, “would you take a sweet potato and coat it in a sticky, sloppy sugary glaze? It’s already a sweet potato.”
And I would say to you, “Did you even hear your own question? Why would you not?”
So when you stab your mother-in-law with a fork while going after the last bit of sweet, tuber-y goodness this Thanksgiving, just give the Daffy defense: “The yams did it! The yams did it!”
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