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Somewhere in my mind there is a switch that says, “It is fall now. You must make soup.” So after a long day on Tuesday, I decided to tackle a new soup from the internet.

Here’s ingredients all ready to go:

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And here’s the finished soup. It was excellent, and the picture doesn’t do it justice. In full disclosure, this is the leftovers, since I forgot to take a pic at dinner time.

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I’m not going to give you the recipe, because I think you can all handle clicking to the page. But, I will say, that if you are curious, this soup wasn’t too spicy. I would actually crank up the heat more next time.

What I would like to discuss is the sweet potato. I think I’ve mentioned this in an earlier post, but what’s not to like? If I told you that there is a vegetable that is sweet, filled with vitamins and minerals, and can be made into pie, would you say, “NO I’LL STICK TO CELERY, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.”

So, without further ado, I give you my ten thoughts on sweet potatoes.

1. Thanksgiving would be a less enjoyable holiday for me without them. Once again, I am allergic to poultry. That proves problematic during our national holiday which focuses on eating an oversized bird. Every year, I get asked, “What do you do on Thanksgiving?” As if I sit alone in a rocking chair locked in a dark basement, while I hear sounds of delight and family mirth upstairs. “Boy, this bird sure is delicious!” Actually, I partake in all the magnificent side dishes of Thanksgiving. In my opinion, the crown jewel of Thanksgiving sides are the candied sweet potatoes with marshmallows. It is the one day of the year when it is culturally acceptable to eat marshmallows with fancy silverware. And honestly, the sweet potatoes are my favorite part.

2. They make filling and nutritious soups. Aside from the one above, I make a sweet potato-chorizo soup that is fantastic. I think the sweet and spicy combination works really well.

3. They are the most intimidating vegetable in the grocery store. Perhaps that’s why people don’t like them. Think about it. They sit in those bins, all big and orange. They come in really odd shapes. They don’t fit well in bags. They usually have dirt on them. And all those little roots stick out from time to time. It’s the edgy, unshaven loner of the produce section. Other vegetables get a cooling shower on a regular basis. Other vegetables get air conditioning. Sweet potato don’t need that! Sweet potato don’t care what you think!

4. Sweet potatoes come in a wide variety of colors! There are white, red, orange, purple, and yellow sweet potatoes. A diverse vegetable for a diverse country.

5. America is slowly but surely falling in love with the sweet potato fry. Move over Russet potato! There’s a feisty new kid in town. Honestly, I have noticed more and more restaurants offering the sweet potato fries as a side item. I still remember the first time I had sweet potato fries…it was in Caliente, Nevada in 2002. I was driving my JV girls softball 150 miles back to Las Vegas from a doubleheader that was two hours late in starting. The girls were starving. The only place to eat between Pioche, Nevada and Vegas was this little town called Caliente. We stopped at the Knotty Pine Casino/Cafe to eat. This story sounds bizarre but it is true. Fourteen teenage girls, my assistant coach and I all packed into this little diner and ate at about 8:30pm. I ordered a burger with sweet potato fries. A satisfying meal on one of many very odd desert road trips I had back in 01-02 coaching JV Softball in rural Nevada.

6. Sweet potatoes are not even true potatoes. They are part of the morning glory family.

7. I Yam not a Yam. Yams are from Africa and are ENORMOUS. American slaves found sweet potatoes to be similar to African yams, and the misnomer stuck. (Why does the US Govt. have a sweet potato vs. yam web page?)

A GIANT YAM:

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8. When my daughter was little, one of her favorite books was Sweet Potato Pie. I still have very fond memories of reading that book to her over and over. Check it out!

9. One of my other favorite ways to have sweet potatoes is with a filet mignon. I make smashed sweet potatoes that I serve with filet mignon. It is really easy: peel a sweet potato, microwave it, cut it in chunks, place in pot with half-and-half, butter, salt. Smash and heat on low. Serve with steak and good red wine. You are welcome.

10. Sweet Potatoes are a superfood. Find out more about this humble tuber full of mighty nutritional value here.

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