Sociology and Anthropology: Sweet Potato Apricot Stew

Courtesy of Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg

Here is a recipe that was inspired by the United Nations Cookbook owned by my parents in the 1960s, when the UN was still very young, and we were all full of hope about how global governmental institutions could promote world peace and well-being. Because an embrace of human diversity, internationalism, and cross-cultural communication and experience are key values of anthropology, I thought these recipes would be fitting for Firebellies. 


  • Cube: one large sweet potato or garnet yam 
  • Cube: 2-3 medium potatoes 
  • Cube: a medium-to-large onion 
  • Slice in rounds: zucchini, carrots 
  • Large cubes: bell pepper (green or red–green shows up better, red is sweeter) 
  • Cut in half: a large handful of dried apricots 

Additional ingredients: 

  • Large can of diced tomatoes 
  • Frozen mixed vegetables (peas, corn, carrots, green beans) 
  • Salt, pepper, tarragon, bay leaf (can also substitute other herbs, such as basil or oregano), all to taste. 
  • A generous splash of red cooking wine 
    If you want, you could add a bouillon (soup) cube, but the salt, pepper, and herbs should do.


Sauté the onion, then add the potatoes and sweet potato. Then simmer with the canned tomatoes. Add the other vegetables, the dried apricots, and herbs and spices. You can be creative with the vegetables, using what you have on hand, but the Mediterranean palette works best. 

Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer. Longer is better. Best is letting it sit in the fridge overnight and warming it up and eating it the next day, because the flavors blend better. 

If it is fall, you can bake this all in a hollowed out pumpkin shell, using the pumpkin as a soup tureen. Looks great on the table. 

The recipe is a vegetarian version of an Argentinian stew, that adds beef and is baked in a pumpkin.

 Serve with a slice of whole grain bread, or crackers, and if you want with a piece of sharp cheese to compliment the sweet/savory flavor of the stew.