You’ve heard the proverbs before: “there’s so much more than meets the eye” and “life’s pleasures often lie in the simplest things.” They collided recently in my daily life and on my dinner table.
For the past year, a lady named Rebecca and I have been “classmates” at the Bar Method, a ballet-inspired exercise method. Rebecca walks into class unassumingly – but always with a smile that unfurls to reveal two deep, charming dimples and always in a purple or violet top. We’ve shared pleasantries many times but never had the opportunity (i.e. time) to “talk.” Today, she knelt beside me before the start of class and joked that her body was in for some pain – it had been a few weeks since her last class. We laughed about class and her recent travels and I remarked that she always brought a wonderful energy to class. Regretfully, she said she would be leaving soon. With a calm smile, she told me her family had moved from Singapore for the past year so that her almost 3-year-old could receive treatment at Stanford Hospital. Her voice unwavering, she told me he had developed a malignant tumor so large, his head began tipping over from the weight. With rounds of chemotherpy behind them and a favorable prognosis, the port that delivered the drugs to her little boy would be removed in two weeks and then they would be back to Singapore. I was stunned. I, too, had a little boy nearly the same age as hers. And, yet, our journey through early motherhood differed so greatly.
I will miss Rebecca when she moves. Not only because of her smile and gentle presence. But because she reminded me of simple, important lessons that her little boy learned too soon – and that my little boy has yet to – but must also – learn.
Rebecca nourished my soul… as for the belly….
Complex, decadent flavors are exciting but, most days, I desire simple preparations that let the ingredients speak for themselves. Truthfully, there is really nothing to add to a baked purple yam. Dull, ragged, and unassuming on the outside, the interior reveals a tie-dye purple that only nature could create. Wash it well and bake it until fork-tender and candy-sweet. Once baked, the flesh becomes a deep, royal hue. Loaded with vitamins, fiber, potassium, fiber, and antioxidants and low is saturated fat and sodium, the purple yam is one of nature’s most beautiful superfoods.
Baked Purple Yams, found in specialty or Asian markets
Note: These yams are also delicious cubed or cut into fries, tossed with salt, pepper, agave nectar and rosemary, and baked until a crusty, carmelized crust forms around the creamy center. They can also be mashed and baked into pies and breads.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Scrub yams well under running water. Pat dry. Using a fork or knife, make several incisions to allow steam to escape during the cooking process. Wrap yam in foil.
- Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until knife inserted in the center goes in smoothly.
- Serve as is. Or enjoy with salt, pepper, butter, or agave nectar.