My Favorite Things
It’s the holiday season and the time for everyone’s favorite things. Biographers report that one of John Coltrane’s notoriously (because he ate so much of it) favorite things was sweet potato pie, especially the pie his mother made. Anyone who has had real, down home sweet potato pie knows that it’s hard not to reach for another piece, and that was the kind Coltrane’s mother made at the Coltrane House, 1511 N. 33 Street.
An ante bellum black heritage treat, sweet potato pie, at its best, is a sublime creation, so it’s easy to understand and sympathize with Coltrane’s fondness for his mother’s pie. Today, however, there may be some health concerns about the traditional recipe, which calls for evaporated whole milk or cream, eggs, and is heavy on butter and sugar. The traditional pie is very much an indulgence. However, since the dessert consists mostly of sweet potatoes, there is the mitigation of abundant vitamin A and fiber.
Moving along with the food trends of the last several decades, sweet potato pie has become a heritage holiday season tradition in which everyone, vegans, vegetarians, and health food advocates can partake. For close to a century, vegan Seven Day Adventists have been tweaking vegetable source substitutes for eggs, butter, and milk because they weren’t about to give up this spirit uplifting dish. They have created some delicious adaptations. Over the past twenty years, healthy eating advocates have come up with vegan and non-vegan versions that use reduced amounts of fat and sugar.
So, no matter what your diet choice, as a seasonal treat, a slice of homemade sweet potato pie is just the way to connect with holidays past, a heritage tradition, and John Coltrane. Just resist the urge to reach for another piece, especially if it’s the real down home deal.