Momentarily you’ll forgive me for assuming, incorrectly, that Stacey Abrams had joined my cause.
With Thanksgiving approaching, regular readers of this column can understand why I misread her intentions when I heard the Democratic dynamo say something about “orange putrescence” in an MSNBC interview.
I thought, “Hell, yes; a big-hitter has joined my informational campaign about sweet potatoes.”
False hope: “Orange putrescence” was instead her descriptive term for the soon-to-be-leaving occupant of the Oval Office.
Abrams has a lot on her plate, having just helped turn Georgia blue. Maybe after she helps Georgia flip the Senate, she can ply her campaign magic to help get my informational campaign about sweet potatoes over the top.
I call it informational because my political enemies have mislabeled it as a campaign against sweet potatoes.
Wrong. The only thing I’m against is eating them.
I’m not prejudiced against sweet potatoes. It’s my tongue’s inclination. It tried to escort sweet potatoes down my gullet once. It bailed. That was enough for a lifetime.
I’m as pro-sweet potato as anyone you’ve ever met as long as the orange matter is used for good, not steaming evil.
Sweet potatoes have immense non-food use. I’ve saluted many through the years. Ink. Plastic. Ethanol. Rouge. Lighter fluid.
Hence, it was wholly uncalled for when, after I extolled the non-food virtues of the tuber in one of decades’ worth of seasonally informational commentaries, I got a letter from the executive director of the United States Sweet Potato Council. In several well-chosen lines, he told me to quit it.
I won’t do that, not when every year I see troubling recipes attempting to rationalize and disguise sweet potatoes as food.
There – staring at me from the corkboard above my desk: “slow-cooker curried sweet potato soup with coconut and kale.” Good gosh.
There – “whipped sweet potatoes and bananas with honey.” The recipe employs bread crumbs, butter, pecans and apparently the absence of any sense of taste or smell.
There – “sweet potato dessert fries.” Ingredients: chocolate-hazelnut sauce, powdered sugar, whipped topping, walnuts. This abomination is served at Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field, where the White Sox play ball. What a desecration of America’s pastime.
Usually at this point someone attempts to say that all that stuff slathered on sweet potatoes is wholly unnecessary. All they need, goes the assertion, are butter and 425 degrees.
Usually at this point someone attempts to espouse that sweet potatoes are rich in nutrients. So is tree bark.
All of these claims would be defensible if sweet potatoes could be eaten, but in fact they cannot.
No mobilization of marshmallows will acquit them.
This is a different Thanksgiving, a scaled-down Thanksgiving, though we have good reason for thanks. Heading the list: The most corrupt, least worthy leader of this land is soon to depart.
With all those voters – 80 million-plus – seeing the light regarding the orange squatter in the White House, maybe now more of them will see the light regarding the orange, sinewy mass that masquerades as a side dish.
Stacey Abrams, let us collaborate.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.