For the record, HuffPost Taste loves Ellen. We love that she's a vegan, that she has possibly the world's greatest holiday card (it involves butts), and that she hosts a show that's pretty much guaranteed to ward off the grumpies. However, we're discovering that Ellen (or rather, her research staff) is not always right. [May we now be struck down by lightning.]
On "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Tuesday, the daytime talk show host opened the show with a rant on the difference between sweet potatoes and yams. This topic comes up every Thanksgiving, and food editors everywhere attempt to clear it up. And yet, humans seem incapable of retaining this knowledge come the following November.
As seen in the video above, Ellen announced to her audience: "We as people have been mixing up sweet potatoes and yams. Let me repeat that. We've always thought there were sweet potatoes, and yams. But sweet potatoes are actually yams. Or yams are actually sweet potatoes. I know, it's crazy. It's upsetting, and it's the truth."
For the record, Ellen is correct up to this point.
But here's where she starts to overgeneralize, unknowingly misleading her dear viewers:
"How many people thought that sweet potatoes were orange? FOOLS! You're all fools. Sweet potatoes are not orange, they're white and they look like regular potatoes. Yams are orange." (Ellen then displays a photo of a white sweet potato, and an orange yam.)
Now, Ellen is not necessarily wrong here, but she's omitting some important information. While some sweet potatoes do have white-ish flesh, other sweet potatoes ARE orange inside. And while yes, many yams are orange, many yams are also white (or purple, or reddish).
The one area where Ellen is almost absolutely wrong? Sweet potato fries. She says:
"You know how you go to a restaurant and you order sweet potato fries? Guess what, your ass has been ordering yam fries."
Though this made us belly laugh, it's wrong. As The Kitchn writes, "True yams can be tough to find. They aren't carried in many local grocery stores, so your best chances of finding them are in international and specialty markets." So your sweet potato fries are, most likely, made out of sweet potatoes. We'll blame this one on Portia De Rossi, whom Ellen says educated her about this whole debate.
For a full understanding of the difference between sweet potatoes and yams, check out this handy infographic. (Click it for a larger version.)