Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I Yam What I Yam

Popeye quote, right? And Popeye makes you think of spinach, right? So, naturally, I'm posting today about yams, right?

Wait, what?

Because Popeye's saying, "I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam," makes me think of -- you're way ahead of me -- yams.

We just came through a long, hard winter, in which yellow food was my comfort food. Winter is the time for eating root vegetables, especially yams and sweet potatoes. Their sunny colors brighten up a gloomy winter day. 

Although groceries in the USA don't always seem to know it, a yam and a sweet potato are not the same thing.  Yams, generally, are native to Europe. They most likely originated in West Africa, then spread to Asia/India. Yams were brought to the New World with enslaved Africans. 

The yam is mostly starch, but most societies which have yams as a major food source also have access to fish, and the two complement each other well. The yam is sometimes called a tuber, but it's really a swelling of the plant's stem, which sounds vaguely lascivious. It has been a long, cold winter.

There are more varieties of yam than you can shake a stick at, including some which produce edible bulbils or "aerial tubers" in their foliage, and one which produces flowers that are eaten in salads in India. That sounds so elegant, I 'm going to just sit here and think about it for a while.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

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