By Kyle Peveto, Page Editor
My family eats sweet potato pie every Thanksgiving and Christmas. I never ate Pumpkin pie until coming to ACU in 1999, and upon tasting the bland version of sweet potato pie, I ran to find a glass of milk to choke it down.
This holiday season, my mother’s kitchen will smell of sweet potatoes, which implied by the name, taste sweet without sugar or cinnamon.
“Pumpkin pie is a Yankee food,” my mother said. “It’s pretty bland, and we never make it.”
Where I grew up in Southeast Texas, we felt more Southern than Texan. We had the “our state can beat up your state” mentality of Texans, but the language, manners and comfort foods associated with the South. I lived in the best of both worlds. We claimed the Alamo and the bayou.
Let me offer an analogy to better your understanding of sweet potato and pumpkin pies: Pumpkin pie, a rock star who sits alone in his house for months at a time rarely visits fans or writes new songs and complains that “no one understands him.” He makes an appearance toward Thanksgiving each year and feels he satisfies his fans. Sweet potato pie sits on his porch every day after work and sings blues songs, looking out over the kudzu and pine in the forest near his modest home.
Sweet potato pie works hard and satisfies the blue-collar eater, but pumpkin pie pokes its head out only every Thanksgiving.
Sweet potatoes, much more versatile than their often mistaken look-a-like, the yam, retain the moisture and sweetness the yam and the pumpkin could only do with years of genetic engineering and tinkering. Sweet potato pie, often sweetened with cinnamon and sugar and sold year round with frozen potatoes around the South, remains the low key folk food of the South and will please my palette for my whole life. I shall never eat pumpkin pie again.