Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dreams and Bones: Sweet Potatoes

Pullin' weeds and picking stones,
We are made of dreams and bones.

These lyrics are from The Garden Song by Pete Seeger, a song which always reminds me of my dad. My dad has always loved a garden, has always seemed to feel a kinship with the vegetables planted deep in the ground. Vegetables need care, tending, and the dreams of the earnest planter. Many days I spend pullin' weeds and pickin' stones at my dad's behest. Many meals I enjoyed the vegetables pulled up out of the ground and spread out on the family table.

I appreciate the earthy taste of the sweet potato. Knowing I am eating something that got its start in the soil, was fed by the warmth of the sun, and watered by the blessings of showers makes me feel closer to the earth and closer to my dreams. I think anyone spending time in a garden knows what it means to be made of dreams and bones. Our bones do the laboring in the hard ground, while dreams make us fly somewhere above ground level. We need both, the balance of sweat and vision. Lucky are we, if at the end of the day, we have been required to call upon our dreams and bones to fulfill the demands of our day. Work should ask that from us.

I love fresh vegetables with their coats of many colors, the crunchiness, the tenderness, the pure flavor they possess. I love it that someone's dreams brought them into being. We, human beings, are, so much more like vegetables than we are foodlike products that are made in a factory, like gumdrops, or crackers, or imitation cheese. I believe we are meant to be close to the earth.

I tried this recipe for sweet potatoes for a dinner with members of my family. This dish received favorable comments from all around the table and I will surely make it again.

Sweet Potatoes
6 medium sweet potatoes
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup orange juice
Cook potatoes until soft, but not mushy.
Remove skins and cut in half lengthwise.
Arrange in a buttered baking dish and sprinkle with salt.
Heat together the butter, honey, and orange juice. Pour over the potatoes.
Bake at 400 for 25 minutes.

This recipe is from the Mennonite Community Cookbook (1950).

Celebrating dreams and bones,

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