I ate sweet potatoes in one of two ways as a kid: mashed or casseroled (in other words, mashed and then capped with toasted marshmallows). College brought a few innovations: crisp and addictive sweet potatoes fries, sweet potato pancakes topped with cinnamon, and cubed sweet potato softened in brothy soups. And in more recent years, I have actively sought recipes to expand the repertoire—I'm particularly partial to the simple but elegant dish of oven-baked sweet potatoes topped with butter, brown sugar and freshly ground black pepper. I have also begun to learn my way around different varieties, discovering the subtle differences between milder, purple-skinned varieties and the creamy-fleshed standard Beauregard. Whatever varieties you like, and however you prepare them, now is the time to take full advantage of the sweet potato's full range.