The recipe, which has various incarnations, came to me from a former Matriarch, Ruth Reynolds, who has since passed away. It is fairly easy to make, and rather tasty. So, as a tribute to Ruth, here is the recipe for the yams, and Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Boil up a giant pot of yams. Remove from heat when soft, and drain. Now peel the yams (it is hard on fingers when hot, but easier to peel then, and the heat will help with the next step, too).
Add a few spoonfuls of butter to the peeled yam pot, along with some brown sugar and a bit of milk or cream. Depending on availability of ingredients, I also sometimes add any or all of the following: A touch of nutmeg, some cinnamon, or a bit of pure maple syrup. Now mash those suckers, or even better, use a blender on them, until sufficiently smooth.
For a little added protein and texture, throw in some chopped walnuts.
Serve hot or warmed up in oven or microwave, garnished (the yams, not the microwave, obviously) with a sprig of parsley, some walnuts and a few stalks of whole cinnamon.