last fourth Thursday of every November,* American families gather together to half-watch football, complain about airports, and eat foods covered in baby marshmallows. Most people’s goal, apart from stuffing themselves silly, is to avoid conflict. But there are a few brave individuals out there who will risk getting sent to their old childhood bedroom with no pumpkin pie: sticklers.
These foolhardy souls are more concerned with being right than being popular. They hear a term used incorrectly, and they just can’t stop themselves from piping up about it, damn the social consequences. It is for this group of impolitic pedants that I present the answers to three common Thanksgiving vocabulary arguments. Correct at your own risk.
1. Sweet Potatoes vs. Yams
The sweet potato, Ipomoea batatas, originated in Latin America. It shares a genus with the morning glory and is distantly related to actual potatoes.