Sunday, July 11, 2010

Yam I Am.

A hot Sunday morning in July, began with light fingers creeping through open windows, illumination's prints settling upon packed boxes, some taped shut and some seeping clothes onto the floor, dishevelment lending to the appearance of those living out of them. In a room ready and anxious, willing to be moved, soft breaths escorted darkness with a gentle arm.

Summer days beg on bended knee for Cooking Chastity -- they pray for abstinence from the heat of the kitchen. I heard these supplications and answered with juicing.

Yams are not a vegetable I ususally think to eat in the summertime. Bedded earth grows the roots of fall, in its damp and soiled womb, waiting to birth in the crisp fall months. They arrive just in time to be assaulted by Tradition, overly cooked and polluted with marshmallows, browned into a sugary sidedish that no one really likes. Casseroles are brought proudly to the Giving of Thanks, artificially sweetening the table. How was this thought the genius way to get people to eat vegetables? Its intention worked the opposite way with me. I despised yams. That is, until I had one simply baked in its jacket with just a pad of butter or a drop of maple syrup. I remember also thinking I hated brussels sprouts, until I experienced them just barely steamed.

It is strange, this thought that vegetables must be disguised to be enjoyed. They can only be successfully swallowed with a spoonful of sugar -- that will make this medicine go down.

A friend of mine, over a salad with raw zuchinni and tomato, told me of his childhood hatred of zuchinni. Sautéed to its death by his mother, he obediently cleaned his plate of the limp and tasteless slimy squash. Although, as he was sent to the garden to gather, he quickly learned that allowing the zuchinni grow "too big" resulted in bread being made, rather than the dish suggestive of swallowing oysters. The former being much preferred to the latter, of course.

Now, after some reading, I am slightly confused as to whether I have actually ever eaten a true yam. This tuber's America Imposters, I read, are only orange sweet potaoes disguised beneath a yam label, the authentic root being only sold in ethnic markets.

Nevertheless, the sign at the greengrocer's told me that I was, in fact, buying a yam. Therefore, I bought, I juiced, I drank. For, one cannot, with a clear conscience, roast a sweet potato in such summertide settings. That must be saved for giving thanks on colder, darker days.

A shiny new bright red Jack LaLanne power juicer has recently been gifted to my sister and I and has taken up residence proudly on the kitchen counter. Through it, we stuff vegetable matter of all kind, shapes, sizes and colors. My most recent facination is juicing yams, at the suggestion of my mother and the common sensible book Good Gut Healing by Kathryn Marsden. I have also been eating a lot of potatoes, as both potatoes and yams contain inulin, a dietary fiber important for health of the colon. And, both are considered a prebiotic, containing the necesary elements to provide a nurturing nesting place for the good gut bacterial probiotcis I am pumping into my system.

The yam claims bragging rights on its provision of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, manganese and vitamin B6. A stranger property of the yam, is its high phytoestrogen content.

Juiced, the vibrancy of the extract outshines the fibrous flesh. Thick and silky, rich with an earthy smoke, it was perfectly paired with carrot; and, apples juiced for a little spoonful of sugar to help it all go down.

~ Juice ~



  1. I'm absolutely intrigued by this post. I have never liked sweet potato's because of sweet potato casserole. Now I'm wondering if I could enjoy them in another way. (I have tried them as fries as well and only found one place that seemed to do them "right".)

    I wonder how differently a yam tastes from a sweet potato.

    Also, I've wanted a juicer for a long time now but could never justify the space and money. Any recommendations on a brand or style or anything?

  2. Red - I have the "express model" I think: and have liked it a lot. I got it as a gift, but before that, I just used one I got at Goodwill and it did the job for years! I also love baking sweet potatoes or yams like regular potatoes. I always hated sweet potatoes too because of the casseroles...yuck on marshmallows on top. Oh, or slice the sweet potato and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper and oven roast....they're delicious. :)

  3. I will look into the juicer. And I may have to pick up a yam or a sweet potato the next time I go to the store and give those a try.