Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday Miracle

I'm here this morning to report a miracle.

It probably won't seem much like a miracle,
but if you knew me at all,
you would be rising to your feet and shouting

Because yesterday, I ate sweet potatoes.
And what’s more, I kept them down.

For 48 years, I have been unable to get an orange vegetable beyond the tip of my tongue. (OK, technically, it’s been about 46 years. According to the Duchess, I loved them as a baby... along with olives. I can't figure that one out either. )

Somewhere between birth and elementary school, however, I developed an aversion to all orange vegetables. It was crystallized after an unfortunate lunchroom incident in the second grade.

You see, I went to school in a place and time

...when lunch was served on glass plates with little glass bowls for side dishes.
...when you were expected to say, “Thank you” to the lunch lady before you were allowed to sit down.
…and when you were required to clean your plate.

Generally speaking, I was thankful for my lunch on every day except orange vegetable days. On those days, the Duchess packed my lunch.

In my Campus Queen lunch box
with the nifty board game on the back.

 This system worked for us until that fateful day in the second grade when the lunchroom lady made a last minute sweet potato substitution in the menu.

I was not thankful.

Instead, I tried to convince the table nazi that substitution taters ought to be exempt from the clean plate rule. She would hear nothing of it.

I tried to sneak the taters over to my best friend’s plate.
They caught me.

Finally, I tried to slide them down with a little swig of milk for camouflage. For the record, I wouldn’t recommend it. Apparently, lunchroom milk and sweet potatoes do not make for good swigging. The sweet potato milk had no more reached the back of my throat when up it came, bringing the rest of my lunch with it.

All over the lunchroom table.

I left school early that day, suffering from an acute attack of humiliation which the sympathetic school nurse dubbed a virus. To add insult to injury, the Duchess was not home so they sent me to my grandmother.

And since Grandma didn’t drive, I was transported by way of the creepy old school janitor.  My how times  have changed.

And that, my friends, remained at the top my "most humiliating moments" list until an unfortunate bikini top incident in my late teens. It is also the reason that I have had an orange vegetable phobia for four decades, and the reason that no one… ever… badgers me to try them when they are sharing my table.

This doesn’t keep the Duchess from serving sweet potatoes though. In particular, she makes a sweet potato casserole that looks and smells delicious. It’s full of all sorts of sweet potato camouflage too… sugar and butter and pecans.   Every time it passes beneath my nose, the smell of all that sugar and spice makes me want to try them. Periodically, I take a smidgeon and bring it to the tip of the tongue. But then I have a flashback and have to go to the sink and wash off my fork.

Until yesterday.

For whatever reason I was feeling adventurous yesterday. I dropped an amount about the size of a baby spoon onto my plate, took a deep breath, and tasted it.

Eureka! It tastes almost like pumpkin pie!

I feel a tremendous sense of victory over Goliath.
I am strong.
I am invincible.
I am  sweet potato woman.

Next, I'm going to try a carrot.

And just in case your mom doesn’t have a sweet potato recipe of her own,
I’ll share the one from the Duchess, which today, I have named:

Sweet Potato Miracle

2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1/4 cup melted butter
2 eggs
1/2 evaporated milk
3/4 cup sugar (half brown, half white)
dash cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice

Mix all together and bake in greased casserole at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
Spoon on the topping:

1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/2 light brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

Lower temp to 350 and bake for 15 more minutes.
And you, too, can finally return to the cool table.


Francie of The Scented Cottage said...

Awww, I'm sorry it has been so many years without sweet 'taters...I LOOOVE them oh but wait !!! That has meant more of them for me, hmmmm ... please don't go eatin' all the sweet 'taters on me ...


gnee @ Singing With Birds said...

:D! How you make me smile. Thanks as my grands are all gone...:( This casserole is too sweet for me, but hubster would love it. I bake yams all the time, as they are low-carb. So glad your miracle occurred, and loved your food-nazi memory. Please, end the summer by posting that bikini-top incident. I may not get any sleep until you do! Just know you are loved by a gal out in Idaho!

Denise said...

Two thumbs up from my cowboy husband! So glad you finally gave them a try...and liked them. I didn't know you still had that lunch box. The things you manage to keep.

PS You forgot to mention that after you picked up your lunch tray, you had to turn to the right to leave or had to come back and turn correctly!

Donna@Conghaile Cottage said...

This is "TOOO CUTE"!!! I have always loved sweet potatoes but I'm with you on the olives... AND I can FEEL your story with the substitute of "Baked Beans"... I grew up in the generation that you sat at your seat at the table until you were done! OMG I would have "sleep overs" at the table with my plate of baked beans(and to make it WORST, "THEY WERE COLD")!!! YUK! and being a New Englander this was NOT PERMITTED! Your story is SUCH fun and I'm so glad you have entered the wonderful world of the Sweet Potato... Hugs, Donna

Sue at Beach Bungalow said...

That's hilarious!


Chatty Crone said...

First of all that was a GREAT story. Great story teller.

I love sweet potatoes. They are something to acquire a taste for.

Glad you made some you like - they look delish.


Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Congratulations on tackling your sweet potato problem. What a funny post that felt like a walk down memory lane!
So cute lunchbox!!!!!
And thanks for the Miracle recipe.

Sharon Kirby said...

GOOD GIRL!!! I think you need to reward yourself with a huge bowl of ORANGE sherbet!

BTW, here's my short list of things to eat that I hated as a kid...and I still hate!!
Lima beans, creamed corn, yams (I can SORTA do sweet potatoes...but yams = yuck), brussels sprouts, coconut, pears...

Congratulations, sister - before you know it, you'll be Bugs Bunny - "carrot addict!"


P.S. Open My Ears, Lord had a wonderful post today about a rainbow! If you're not familiar with that blog, it's on my blog list!

Manda said...

I'm so sorry to admit, I chuckled through this... what a great story. Even though it wasn't easy on you... :(
Glad orange veggies are back in your life. :)

Linda W said...

Are you sure you aren't related to me? I, too, have an adversion to sweet potatoes. (They share my dislike of watermelon.) The next time you're feeling adventurous about them, have a spoonful for me.

Lynn Richards said...

Well. I might, just MAYBE might try your mom's dish. Maybe. I can eat carrots, but not sweet potatoes. They just aren't right. Nope.
The janitor?????

The Polka Dot Closet said...

Praise the lord!!! You should have barfed on the nazi! Thank you foy stopping by!


Dayle said...

Bless your sweet heart. That cafeteria nut should have been arrested. How ridiculous! And what a ridiculous rule! I guess all's well that ends well, even 46 years later. Girl, I LOVE sweet potato casserole and make it every holiday. Divine! BTW, you can substitute the sugar in the topping with the half-sugar-half-splenda brown sugar and I can't tell the difference. I've also substituted the sugar in the potatoes with splenda, but it isn't quite as good that way. Go figure. (wink)

Jennie said...

I didn't like sweet potatoes until I had Mrs. Lisa's sweet potato casserole. Her secret is that there is just as much topping as there is actual sweet potatoes. I think I would eat chipped up tires if it had enough pecans on top! ;)

Seriously though, times HAVE changed! I'm glad you got over your aversion. Next...olives. (I love those things!)

Alicia said...

Too funny! I am sorry you have missed out on sweet potatoes for this long. They are divine. I also like them baked and slathered (yes, SLATHERED) with butter, sugar, and cinnamon.

Kelli said...

I am thrilled that sweet potatoes are now a friend of yours. Sweet Potato Casserole is my fave!! I have some not so pleasant 2nd grade memories too!!

CAL said...

Well you can now cross this off your bucket list. LOL.
Thanks for the chuckle, for me it has always been those little cabbage thingees vegetables. I have yet to tolerate the smell or the taste.

Thanks for the recipe, it looks fabulous and I will give it a try.

Sue said...

WIth all of our families strange likes and dislikes, this was an all too familiar story! You have such a gift for story telling.
Thanks for stopping by.

A very blessed lady! said...

Love the stoy going to have to mark this on my fav's just incase my daughter needs has a bad day at school!!! I must say you need to make up for all those years and I am going to have to try that recipe it looks devine!!

Thanks again for reliving your humilation : )

FrouFrouBritches said...

I also have had a orange sugar phobia, although my didn't stem from an unfortunate event. I just always thought they were NASTY! The only way I eat carrots, is cooked with a roast with gravy on top. BUT, I have just recently grown to love sweet potatoes. Sweet potato fries are fabulous with lots of garlic salt and chili powder. YUM! The sweet version like the recipe you shared is good too. It totally tastes like pumplin pie. So, I usually have a few bites for dessert on Thanksgiving.

So sorry about your unfortunate incident. Bless your little heart! How awful for you! Too bad you couldn't just tell them you were allergic. I can't believe they let the janitor take you home. Eegads! That's scary!

FrouFrouBritches said...

DUH! I meant orange veggie phobia.

Manuela@TPOH said...

Glad you were able to eat them! I LOVE sweet potatoes! Sweet potato fries, sweet potato pie, sweet potato chips anything sweet potato!


Gayle said...

Welcome to Thanksgiving dinner. Gotta have that sweet potato casserole. Glad you were able to keep it down. Twin sis does ours every year. Yummy!

P. S. Carrots are much different than sweet potato casserole, but I like 'em.

Anonymous said...

Love love love you story!
I am glad you have found victory.
Thank you for sharing.



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