Thanksgiving and the sweet potato, or yam or whatever you would like to refer to them as. I have been told there is a difference. But not for me. They are the same. I hope not to offend any fans or farmers with That statement.
The Yam made an appearance once a year at our house. Actually two times.. because we were a Turkey feast family on Thanksgiving and on Christmas. However I have been told it will pair well with the Ham family feast as well. The YAM. It was an annual Popeye joke. I thought they grew in cans. It was a lowly food.. but slathered with butter, brown sugar, topped with marshmallows and baked in a pyrex dish… well it rose in the hierarchy of holiday foods to the level of yet another pyrex and canned delight, the green bean casserole.
Perhaps even higher… as it sat next to jellied cranberry sauce on the buffet table. Two, count them two sweet dessert items to be enjoyed WITH and during the holiday meal. O blessed Yam.
And then things changed. And frankly I was able to watch them happen closely. I spent over 30 years after college and a journalism degree selling food to, preparing food for for, an enjoying food in restaurants. And I saw the sweet potato change.
I did spend a short time after college working in radio and newspaper, but the food business became my career. So I watched food trends. I walked hand in hand with the changing Yam.
Baked, Fries, mashed. A roasted root vegetable. Really? Who could ever have thought that this little used underground resident would or could displace the russet. And yet in many ways and in many places this tuber has become a joke no more. And nothing really changed with the Yam, except it’s treatment and environment.
Whether it is a lowly edible, or the monarch of side dishes.. the yam has found it’s level. I am pleased that it has created for me a path I was meant to follow.
And so it is. I studied journalism. Starting as a senior in high school I knew I wanted to write. I did not mind if it was good writing or bad writing..well that may not be true… I wanted to write good stuff.
A journalist, I should journal I thought, so I would buy a blank notebook every year, and on Jan. 1, or thereabout, I would begin. I need not tell you that the focus was lost quickly. And if I do need to tell you… I would just quit.
It was easy for the first day… or two. But I did not enjoy the process. It was great to journal, if I only had to do it on the rare occasion. And so at some point in my life I no longer said I was a writer, or a journalist. I became a restaurant worker or food salesman.
My life really was so much more than that. And I traveled and shared but I did not write.
And then one day… the day before Thanksgiving, 2013, the treatment and environment changed. The Blog. Yes. The Blog. Encouraged by my brother Mario, my dear friend Nancy, I decided to start one, yes this one.
Well bake me, fry me, roast me, mash me.. I am a fricken writer. I drive around and see stories. I give birth to words and phrases that were there all the time.. I just needed a change of treatment and environment.
I am a writer. I YAM WHAT I YAM. Pass me the good stuff please.