Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sweet potato chili? Nooooooooo

  It's lonely, my friends.

  Lonely, once again, to arise in this chamber of information ad infinitum to speak the truth, about sweet potatoes. And speak I will.

    This time of year, when the topic is most current and the marshmallow cream most lavish, I send my message to the masses. It concerns this orange mass alleged to be food. We know it not to be that.

    How do I know? From research. I ate sweet potatoes once. Once.

    I have had to point out often that my message is not anti-sweet potato. I am pro-sweet potato — if  it used for something other than human consumption of the internal kind.

    Make makeup with sweet potatoes. Make ethanol. Make ink and plastic, as George Washington Carver demonstrated. Smart guy.

    A few years ago in said venue I explained how a Colorado mine had pioneered the use of starch —  potato peels — to leech cyanide out of mill tailings. What better use for sweet potato peelings? And why limit it to the peelings? 

    When last we discussed this (steaming, orange) matter, I told of how my wife and I had fed raw sweet potato to our dogs. See? They liked it. The only problem was noxious vapors that welled up inside the dogs and were released around the dining table.

   How many ways can I demonstrate my good-faith intent to work with the other side of the aisle on this? And yet, what do I get?

   — Deliveries of "pumpkin" pie to sample. Oh, yeah. We all know what evil lies.

   —  Entreaties to go to a neighborhood drive-through restaurant for its new sweet potato fries. "They're delicious," is the claim. But that is not possible. Why? Because of the "sweet potato" part of them.

    More sinister, I continue to receive pro-sweet potato newspaper clippings and recipes, sometime anonymously. If I occupied a higher rung on the national security ladder, the Secret Service would investigate these.

     Not long ago one of these threats came by email and carried a most explosive and threatening attachment: a recipe for "sweet potato chili."

     I realize the Internet has more stuff than Donald Trump has hair (another troubling orange mass) — but surely, no one would seek to contaminate the World Wide Web by combining the only perfect food, chili, with something we know not to be edible. (Again, I have confirmed this by research.)

    Chili is the food of the gods. If the Southland gave birth to the blues, chili gave birth to the spoon. If I were on Death Row, chili would be my last meal. Green, red, white bean, black bean, chicken, venison, vegetarian, it's all good. And now? Talk about spoiling the pot.

    Incredulous though I was, I decided to spin the Google wheel and see if this monstrosity — sweet potato chili — was an aberration or a trend.

    Go ahead. Google it yourself. You will find "about 7,750,000 matches" for those terms. I decided to hold my nose and click on Page 7 of these to see if this ruse could be sustained. There I found the recipe for "chipotle chicken sweet potato pumpkin ale chili."


    This just tells me I have roughly 7,750,000 new reasons to continue my lonely quest on yet another Thanksgiving Day.

      Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email:

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