Cut the sweet potatoes into 1 inch slices and boil in salted water until tender. Drain and mash. Add milk and seasonings.
Work the mixture as little as possible.
Add more milk if they seem dry.
Sweet potatoes have beige skin and pale yellow meat. Yams have purplish skin and bright orange meat. I have seen them mislabeled in stores. They vary in size so for portion sake let's use the equaivalent of 2 large baked potatoes.
Cut the potatoes into circles 1 inch thick, cover with salted water in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil and simmer until tender.
Drain, return to saucepan and add butter.
Crush the pulp with a masher using an up and down motion. Don't over mix.
Add the heated milk and mix with a gentle up and down motion.
The potatoes should be fluffy. It is better to have them a little thin at first as they "set up" as they sit.
Salt and pepper to taste.
I personally don't like the flavor of white pepper and don't use it. Some don't like to see black specks in their food. It is up to you. A ricer is an option instead of a masher. It is hard to get the right texture by using an electric beater. It tends to over whip and the potatoes can get gummy.
In a heavy saucepan bring all the ingredients except half and half to a boil.
Simmer for approximately 10 minutes or until the cornmeal is smooth and not gritty. Stir frequently.
Add half and half to achieve the desired creaminess.
It will get thicker as it cools so I make mine a little thinner so it doesn't get gummy half way through eating.
Sauteed: Use the same process as above but don't thin it as much and spread in an oiled sheet pan to cool. Spread with oil on top as well to prevent cracking. Once cool, cut into desired shapes and saute in hot oil until brown and crispy.
Deluxe: Same process as above, with the addition of 1 c. finely diced sautéed vegetables such as onions, celery, carrots, cabbage, etc.