Take a chance on sweet potato

CAROLINE WOLFE, OPINIONS EDITOR

 

Caroline Wolfe, Opinions Editor

I could write an ode about sweet potatoes. The flavor reminds me of my grandmother’s traditional sweet potato casserole that she makes for Thanksgiving. I know that fall is usually a season for pumpkin spice, but especially this time of year, sweet potato is an underrated dish that everyone should enjoy.

These days, everything is pumpkin spice flavored. There are pumpkin spice Oreos, pumpkin spice Cheerios, pumpkin spice protein powders and even pumpkin spice dog treats, as if your dog was actually a “basic” white girl. Take pity on the poor dog who’s forced to eat those!

Pumpkin spice belongs to Starbucks lattes and candles sold at Target. It’s become an essential aspect of fall—but only from a commercialized perspective. According to Forbes, pumpkin spice lattes drive some of Starbucks’ busiest season while it’s sold from September to January.

Sweet potatoes aren’t commercialized. Target doesn’t sell sweet potato candles. And that’s how it should be. Why spoil a perfectly good dish by commercializing it? Sweet potatoes shouldn’t be trendy. Sweet potatoes are classics that never go out of style.

Think about Thanksgiving pies, for example. “Pumpkin” pies aren’t really pumpkin. They’re loaded with nutmeg, sugar, and other spices that hide the flavor. Sweet potato pies, on the other hand, are made so that the unique flavor of the sweet potato can shine. Simpler is better.

Sweet potato better reflects American heritage as a land of agriculture and cultivation better than pumpkin spice. You won’t find pumpkin spice growing on a farm.

Furthermore, sweet potatoes are full of nutritional goodness. According to the Cleveland Clinic, sweet potatoes are 90 calories, have 4 grams of fiber and are filled with essential vitamins and nutrients like Vitamin C, which keeps your immune system strong, and Vitamin B6, which helps your metabolism and your nervous system.

A tall nonfat pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, on the other hand, contains 200 calories, 38 grams of sugar and zero grams of fiber. There’s a clear nutritional difference.

Pumpkin spice may make us feel nostalgic and remind us of fall, but where’s the comfort in that? It’s just a fad. Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, are here to stay. They will never go out of style. Sweet potatoes have far more nutritional content and reflect the diversity of our beautiful country, appealing to far more people. They were good long before pumpkin spice lattes and dog treats cornered the market on fall flavor. Sweet potatoes are classic, full of nutritional goodness and don’t confine themselves to  the latest trends. So, this season, put down the pumpkin spice and try some sweet potato. And who knows? You might even like it.

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