Some of you may know that in years past, my method of food preparation was largely dependent on restaurants, drive-through and can openers. Can openers, my most technologically advanced cooking tool, contributed to fine dishes such as Cold Canned Ravioli with a Vicodin Chaser or Microwaved Chili Destined to Become a Permanent Part of the Bowl.
Last Thanksgiving, I had no food choices to make, because I was still on the medical fast. I went to my in-laws’ house and chatted with people during the family dinner, then we played games. This year, we hosted dinner for five at our place, and as we were planning the meal I knew that everything but the turkey was pretty much off limits. Therefore, I decided to venture into what is still new and perilous territory for me: cooking.
I decided to make a healthful version of yams: I like yams, and they are a good source of carbs for me in moderation. But the traditional ways of preparing them for this holiday usually involve lots of sweetening. Even the canned yams from the store have syrup in them.
Back to basics. I can do this, I thought. I bought whole yams, brought them home and washed them. I knew that much. Then, with my husband’s help, I found a gadget that helps with peeling and got the skin off without maiming myself. I asked for help with the chopping, because we have only dull knives and I figured my lack of skill would be dangerous on the extremely hard raw yams.
Eventually, I had two baking dishes full of yams. Now to subject them to heat. But it seemed so plain…I’m used to plain food these days, and there’s nothing wrong with it, but part of me wanted to make it different somehow. Then I got an idea. I had seven or eight apples in the refrigerator…baked apples taste good…Eureka! I sliced up the apples, scattered them in with the yams, sprinkled it with cinnamon and put them in the oven. The real oven, not the microwave. It was like a science project.
Damn, it was delicious. But even if it hadn’t been, it was the process that was special. It might seem very mundane to you, but to me it was an illustration of how much things had changed. Standing over my sink peeling yams instead of hiding in my room, or not being there at all. Planning ahead for what to feed myself instead of setting myself up for trouble.
So, “yapples” is my new signature dish. It sure beats my old ones.