Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Don’t even try to change the subject

            Sure, there are other problems in the world.

            Raisins are a problem -- cooked raisins, plumped and pleading, contrived to make muffins and cinnamon rolls vessels of subversion.

            Turnips are a problem. Steamed in their own ooze, they bite the young innocent who thinks it's a bit of -- what? Potato?

            Liver is a problem. Goose. Chicken. Calf. No onion should ever give its life for this.

            All are problems, but they are not the problem, and we are not changing the subject.

            A reader emails: "Why denounce sweet potatoes each Thanksgiving when there is this? Please take a stand."

            "This" is a photo of a magnificent turkey, brown and basted, posing in a steaming pile of Brussels sprouts.

            Let me just say: Anyone who builds such a moat around the main course needs counseling.

            But Brussels sprouts are no more the issue in 2021 than voter fraud was in 2020.

Sweet potatoes for dinner: Now, that is rampant fraud.

            And so, again I press my case against sweet potatoes as food. I know them not to be. I ate sweet potatoes once. Once.

            The world needs this crusade because so many are deceived – defrauded.

            There was Parade magazine the other day pitching "Candied Sweet Potato Pie" (with orange liqueur and orange zest "to add zip").

            Then there's the "sweet potatoes au gratin" recipe from George and Laura Bush, not only depleting the nation's strategic reserve of Gruyere cheese, but employing already-scarce rosemary. The recipe also squanders two cloves of garlic. Listen, people: That garlic never hurt anybody.

            A reader sends a threatening news clipping from the Magnolia Gazette of Pike County, Miss.

            A cheery headline, "Take Note of the Wonder of the Mississippi Sweet Potato!" cannot mask the menace. (We don't like exclamation points, either.)

            Mississippi claims the title: "Sweet Potato Capital of the World," which is no brag.

            The article praises the "artful agriculturists" who made this possible. My reaction: If artful, why not grow something edible?

            The inedibility of their product was affirmed by my already well-educated taste buds more than a half century ago.

            The article exhorts Mississippians to "take prideful notice of the sight of 'Mississippi-grown Sweet Potatoes'" being shipped far and wide.

            Let me just say that if those starchy objects are headed to factories to be made into jet fuel, eye-liner or Hula Hoops, let them take wing.

            However, those of us without palates of stone must fight the whole sweet-potatoes-as-side-dish thing.

            Once again, I could be addressing other world problems. Fruit cake is one.

            More than one seismologist has warned that the accumulated weight of fruit cakes that are given but not eaten will -- at a point undetermined -- cause the Earth's crust to give way.

            But that's a down-the-road problem. Sweet potatoes are a problem of today.

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email:

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