1 4-pound pumpkin, or 3 to 4 pounds of yams or sweet potatoes
2 1/2 quarts water
2 pounds dark brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
If using a pumpkin, cut it in half, remove and discard seeds. Trim and discard stringy part. Cut each half into four sections, and each of those sections into thirds, so that each piece is about 2-by-2 inches. Do not peel the pumpkin. In a four-quart saucepan, bring water, sugar and cinnamon to a boil. Add pumpkin pieces, and simmer until tender, about 50 minutes; do not overcook. Transfer pumpkin to a serving platter with some of the syrup. Serve warm. Or even better, serve it the next day, when the syrup infuses the pumpkin or potatoes.