Golden Lucy's Spiral Journal

Going on 87...Savoring and Surviving the Senior Years

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Fine Vine

I love sweet potatoes. I eat them baked several times a week and often make a full meal out of a big fat one. Last night I thought of something as a put 2 scrubbed beauties in the oven. It occurred to me I hadn't tasted a sweet potato until after I was married.

In our family, the Depression years were complicated by my father's reluctance to work even when such a thing was possible. My mother worked at a soda fountain while I toiled in the kosher butcher shop gutting chickens. Father slept in.

Our budget was understandably tight and unfortunately, in addition, my mother was totally clueless when it came to nutrition. Our meals were very white---usually consisting of potatoes and day-old bread/pastry with fatty meat on the odd occasion. Precious little dairy and nary a veggie in sight. Even then, I knew there must be a better way to eat---and live!

When I married Ben we swore our children would have everything they needed. We produced one son and made good on our resolution. As a baby Jack loved sweet potato baby food. As he grew older I became very adventurous and cooked real, live, sweet potatoes. I thought I was very sophisticated, I can tell you! Around this time I saw a magazine article that give instructions for growing a sweet potato vine. I thought that sounded like a nifty idea and so embarked on my great horticultural experiment.

The sweet potato grew in sync with our son. We watched the vine sprout and stretch just like Jack. It grew luxuriant---twining draping over the kitchen divider. I regarded it as a prized possession and fretted whenever it was droopy or petulant and nearly burst with pride when visitors commented on its beauty.

Alas, it didn't make a successful transition to our next apartment. I went back to working full-time and deprived of accustomed affection and attention, the poor sweet potato vine just faded away. However, it will aways live in my memory as a reminder of those long-past times of innocent hope and simple pleasures. Perhaps that's why sweet potatoes taste so wonderful---even now.


  • At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Claude said…

    A great story! What you say about foods that remind you of good times is so true!

  • At 1:48 PM, Blogger kenju said…

    My mom loved sweet potatoes and so we had them often. Have you had "white" sweet potatoes? They are much lighter in color than the regular ones. I love them baked.

    The only thing I didn't get until I was older was mushrooms. My mom hated them, so I hardly knew what they were until I went home with a friend from school at lunch time and her mom served mushroom soup. I was afraid to take the first bite - but one bite and I loved it!

  • At 2:19 PM, Blogger Miss Cellania said…

    Bow I am craving a sweetater!

  • At 4:19 PM, Blogger bunnygirl said…

    What a charming memory! I've always loved sweet potatoes, but never tried to grow any.

  • At 9:09 AM, Blogger Primo said…

    PrimoDonna said: I love sweet potatoes too! I grew an avocado seed in water once. Ir became a tiny little tree. Like your sweet potato it didn't make it, but it was fun watching it grow.

  • At 5:30 PM, Blogger Kay Dennison said…

    My mom used to grow sweet potato vines whenever we had them. Thaks for reminding me of this!

  • At 7:38 PM, Anonymous millie garfield said…

    Some restaurant in the area are featuring french fried sweet potatoes. I haven't tried them yet but I hear they are delicious and first chance I get I'm
    go to have them and when I do, I'll be thinking of you Lucy!

  • At 1:05 AM, Blogger Maya's Granny said…

    My mother grew sweet potato vines, and so did I. These days you have to get organic sweet potatoes to do that because the regular ones have been treated with something to extend their shelf life that makes it impossible to grow them.

    We also grew russet potato vines. And avocados from seeds. Free plants!

    I love sweet potatoes with butter and salt and pepper or with salsa. So good, and so good for you.

  • At 5:48 AM, Anonymous notdotdot said…

    I'm always fascinated with the way so many of us ate/eat. You'd expect us to just curl up and die with the food we ate or didn't eat after listening to the experts tell us what we "must" eat to live and stay healthy.
    Love sweet potatoes! My Mom always put brown sugar AND marshmallows on them. Makes me shudder now. Plainly baked, they are sweet enough for me!

  • At 6:55 AM, Blogger GUYK said…

    YEAH! Possum and sweet potatoes! throw away the possum and eat the sweet potaoes.

    By the way, I think those 'white' sweet 'taters' be yams but they yam be goot..

  • At 1:01 PM, Blogger Chancy said…

    I have always loved sweet potatoes fixed most any way, baked, candied, casserole, or whatever. We usually have sweet potato souffle every Thanksgiving.

  • At 6:34 PM, Anonymous momma said…

    I am a big sweet potato fan from way back so reading this post I was shaking my head yes.

    Actually I stopped by to tell you I baked your 'best banana bread ever' Friday and it turned out great! I guess I don't get over as often as I should but I'll try to do better!

  • At 9:44 PM, Anonymous Maria said…

    Your post touched my heart. What a beautiful writer you are. You made the sweet potato come to life for me. I will always think of my friend, Lucy, when I fix sweet potatos for dinner.

  • At 9:32 AM, Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said…

    Such a dear story, Lucy...Have you considered growing another vine now? They are such a pretty plant, too! I would love to read more about your childhood and such...It is always fascinating to me--people's lives and their history, too!

  • At 6:02 AM, Blogger MizMell said…

    Sharing food equates with sharing love. I've never been a big fan of sweet potatoes, but you have me wondering what I have been missing.
    Thanks for sharing your story with me.

  • At 8:46 PM, Blogger joared said…

    I'm a sweet potato fan, too, I did the avocado seed rooting, then transplanting successfully to a pot on the patio. Also, planted a pineapple top that rooted in a pot on the patio. I sorta neglected my outdoor potted plants a year or so ago, then when I was out of town for a week or so in May, those items died. Maybe we should both root some new items again. :-)

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