Yam vine

I found yams, as opposed to sweet potatoes, at Fiesta, a local international grocery, and brought some home. I'm a sucker for plants that sprout on their own. Life resonating with life. It's practically impossible to keep anything green alive in the Texas heat, and I can only manage to keep a modest few watered, so when I spotted embryonic leaves seeking light, I sliced off the end of the tuber and stuck it in a votive candle holder. It sent out roots instantly.

Yams are a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber. Low fat and sodium mean that there is an excellent potassium/sodium balance, which protects against heart disease and osteoporosis. Pretty good deal, huh? They're easy to prepare, and I spied a recipe for crispy yam and goat cheese wontons that sounds lovely. The true yam is found widely in the Eastern Hemisphere.

Yam, June 18.

Yam as diety

If you are a big fan of Tom Robbins, as I yam, you read Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. My sister and I read it in the cardio waiting room in Houston while our dad had bypass surgery. It was the perfect book to read. I know from the author's bio that Robbins has a degree in theology, which informs each of his novels in a...well...novel way. No religious group or sect is exempt from his brilliant and humorous writing. Again, life resonating with life. The mega-alive Cissy and The Chink and the sprouting tuber are all divine. Sacred and profane. That's what happens when you're a preacher's daughter. You read a lot of theology.

The yam is the major food source for indigenous people in many countries. Some groups worship the yam as a god, holding annual festivals to purge the old and ensure success in the new year. So it makes perfect sense that Robbins collected the Eastern mystic with the iconic yam in a cave (yoni!) and crafted a memorable character as Cissy's spiritual/venal guide. If Robbins isn't writing about existential metamorphoses of various dieties, he's writing about sex. Frequently in a Shiva dance or similar yin/yang manifestation. It's challenging to write about Robbins without fumbling for abstractions to describe a very solid state of being. Even if that state is wildly creative. Or changes without notice. no(w)here.

Back to the tuber. I'm fascinated by root crops, probably the Capricorn thing. I love them. Beets, carrots, potatoes of all kinds, yucca root (my fave), turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, you name it, I scrub the dirt off and bake them or eat them raw. The only ones I don't like are licorice-flavored ones, that means you, fennel. I do like fennel seeds. I've eaten sweet potatoes all my life, a staple in the southern US. Mamaw would grow sweet potato vines in the triangular nook by the window over her sink. Which originally looked out onto a roofed/screened back porch the length of the house. When Papaw died and our family moved in with Mamaw, daddy re-plumbed and finished out the porch into a bed/sitting/bath area. This meant there were windows in the living room that looked out onto the sitting area, window connecting bedroom to bedroom, and the kitchen window. Wow.
Sweet potatoes are one of the south's staples, along with myriad greens, tomatoes, okra, and other hot weather crops. On special occasions in the Latino tradition, you'll find a delectable sweet potato tamale that's a super veggie dish, if you make your masa without lard. No southern Thanksgiving table is complete without sweet potato casserole or sweet potato pie. Props to the Texas A&M extension-service-style fact sheets for a superb information about any type of agricultural biounit in existence. Served up as friendly tidbits from A to Z--history, nutrition, culture, husbandry, and tasty, simple, economical recipes. No flash, no promotion, just the facts. Eeeeeeasy for a screen reader to read, thus accessible. I give them an A+.

Yam, June 30.

Crystal, The Purloined Angel, and Mamaw's Thimble Collection nearby bestow energy along with Sun and Water.