21
Dec
08

I Wanted A Sweet Potato Not A Yam

For days, the word tzimmes had been floating in my head.
(Something my heart needed? Something my body craved?)
Apples, carrots, honey-
Jewish comfort food.
Cooked low and slow
Until chewing is almost an afterthought.
But where was the time?
I called my mom.
“What you need is a baked sweet potato.”
I drove to the store and bought two.
I carried them into the kitchen and sliced off their ends.
I called Mom again.
“They’re pale yellow inside,” I said. “Does that mean anything?”
“It means,” she said, “you’ve got yams.”
Arrrggh! Yams!
“You can cook them the same way as sweet potatoes. And they’ll still be good.
But they’re not sweet potatoes.”
Sweet potatoes: that’s what the Produce bin said.
And that’s what I bought-
Not this dry, pallid tuber.
I wanted their vivid orange sweetness
As stand-in for the tzimmes I could not (would not?) make.
I longed to be comforted with apples…
Instead I had a yam.

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