Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Just 'cause 'sweet' is its first name . . .

  I realize that we in the media constantly ladle concerns on top of worries. You are worried plenty, for instance, by news that Black Friday at most major retailers now will start at 5 a.m. July 5.

  Today, however, a much greater concern presents itself. It has to do with holiday-themed ice cream.

  It used to be that holiday-themed ice cream was limited to little Christmas tree-shaped forms adorned with fossilized green coconut, trimmed with red dye No. 2. Life was simpler then.

  Now? A west coast ice cream company has unveiled an array of holiday-oriented flavors, headlined by – clink your spoon on your serving dish -- "Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey." That's right. And that's not all.

  Along with turkey, Portland-based Salt & Straw has not one but two stuffing-based ice cream flavors:  "Rosemary Hazelnut Stuffing" and "Cranberry Walnut Stuffing." (Warning: Do not prepare inside turkey at any oven temperature.)

  As, um, interesting as these flavors might be, one of the company's holiday-themed flavors is so obscene as to be filtered from computers at public libraries under the Children's Internet Protection Act of 2001.

  The flavor of which I speak: "Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Pecans."

  First, the thought that precious pecans and maple bled from America's finest trees would be shed for this abomination is, well, abominable.

  Second, the thought that sweet potato could be employed not only as a side dish but as something masking as a dessert is, well, way past palatable.

   I know that this has been tried before. I've been handed what was advertised as pumpkin pie, something I love, only to see through the trick. I researched the matter before what was actually sweet potato pie went down my gullet.

   That is not going to happen, ever. For as I've written often, and will write again: I ate sweet potato once. Once.

   Ever since I was handed the wooden spoon of the pundit, I have endeavored to inform people about the sweet potato and the fact that, though people may eat it, it is in all truth inedible. I know this to be a fact, because my taste buds told me this more than 50 years ago. It seems like yesterday.

   This is a challenging public information campaign, because my fellows in the media continue to mislead the public. Witness the recent story in Parade magazine reporting that sweet potato pie is "gaining ground" in popularity with pumpkin pie. Right. And among favorite composers, Slim Whitman has supplanted Lennon-McCartney.

  Everything about the sweet potato is a lie. Its supposed nutritional value? It barely compares to fresh-cut alfalfa. Tree bark beats it hands-down, and tree bark, with a little fresh-cut alfalfa thrown in, would make a better smoothie.

  The thing is that it now appears we can't contain this red menace even if it were confined to side dishes, buried under sediments of marshmallow cream. That sweet potato would now infect our confections just tells me how important my public-information campaign remains.

  I have never been against sweet potatoes. I'm just against eating them. I put in a plug one recent autumn for sweet potatoes' service as dog treats. I did report, however, that if one were to administer them raw to the average dog, or at least mine, one would want to have bathroom air freshener or Gas-X on hand.

   I have recommended sweet potatoes for many things – for use as building materials, for one. Slather on a little concrete mortar or stucco and you've got a wall of sweet potatoes. George Washington Carver heroically made ink and plastic with sweet potatoes. A great American he was. And so I aspire to be.

   To that end, I'm telling you that sweet potatoes aren't for dinner, or dessert, or any other form of human consumption, least not down the hatch.

    Now, which stuffing would you prefer with your Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey?

   Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email:


Barbara Elmore said...

John, thanks for my laugh of the day. May I join you in your anti-campaign with one of my own? Persimmons. Who thought they were a good idea? I give you this:

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