Longleaf Stories

full circle in the hundred acre wood

One time when I was a little kid, my brothers and I had a good laugh at our mother’s expense when it was discovered that she put a coffee cup in the washing machine instead of the dish washer.

Ha. Now I can relate.

I put a couple of sweet potatoes in their jackets into the oven about four this afternoon, with the idea of baking them low and slow to bring out the sweetness. Comfort food is the needed medicine for us right now. Anyway, around 5 o’clock those potatoes really began to smell good. Too good, in fact. At a nice low temp, the fragrance should have been just about to bloom, rather than emitting that “take me out of the oven right now” aroma.

Walking over toward the oven, I could feel the wall of heat welcoming me. Turns out I pushed the wrong button and had been broiling the potatoes at 500 degrees for an hour. The peeling had an ominous burnt umber look. I was sure they were ruined.

Buck came over and peered at them with me. We both sighed. He tried to be encouraging. “Well, just wait until they cool and then turn them over. Maybe they’re okay on the other side.”

Yeah, okay, but meanwhile I sliced a couple of apples and sauteed them with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, then let them simmer with a splash of white wine to go along with the pork chops, baby limas and turnip roots. I had no faith in broiled sweet potatoes.

I came this close to just throwing them out so I didn’t have to look at my failure. Thank goodness, I didn’t. They were the best sweet potatoes either of us have ever eaten.

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