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Eating My Feelings: Why Yams are Terrible and Potatoes are Amazing

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Welcome to our new cooking column Eating My Feelings, where Calvin Amari shows all you broke bastards how to cook great food on the cheap and do it hilarity This motherfucker can cook, trust me. He’s a culinary genius.


By Calvin Amari 

Fuck the yam. You heard me. Fuck sweet potatoes and yams and the like. They don’t belong on my cholesterolly plate. Let me preface this all by saying that I eat my feelings. I’m not unhappy, in fact life is good but food is my poison. I’ve left my weeds and my potions behind. I could never take another sip of alcohol. Smoked a pack a day in college but will never again. It’s food that has me by the short hairs.

I love red meat and spicy shit and potatoes and not yams. Why? Aside from them sucking, I hate them because they straddle the line between savory and sweet with such limp optimism. Your mouth hopes the yam will take it in some definitive direction but no. It never chooses.

The yam is the polluter of fryer oil like another mans booze on a hooker’s breath. (I don’t actually know what hookers breathe tastes like. I’m a family man. And you don’t kiss hookers. Duh.)

Sweet potato fries are the smooth jazz of tubers. They’re like a well-done steak or a hand job from your cousin. I’m imagining Robert De Niro slapping his wife in Raging Bull for over cooking his steak “It defeats it’s own purpose.”

Yams were the only thing missing from Navin R Johnson’s birthday lunch in the Jerk… I made you your favorite meal, Tuna fish sandwich on white bread a Twinkie and a Tab and some sweet potato fries… I wrapped the sandwich in cellophane just like you like it. Blech!!!

Without a discernible texture the sweet potato ends up as pabulum or some vile marsh mellowed thanksgiving abomination.

Fuck the yam for not being a potato… The potato being a perfect food. A blank canvas a sounding board for flavors and textures.


Step 1

I make a potato dish where I steam racquetball sized red or yellow potatoes till they’re fork tender. Let them cool a bit and slice 1/4 inch disks. I toss them in plenty (more than seems reasonable or healthy) of olive oil salt pepper fresh rosemary and coriander seed. I arrange them in a cast iron skillet in an overlapping pinwheel shape and burn the shit out of them at four hundo (idiot talk for 400 degrees) till the exposed portion is crunchy (it is to be noted that to fuck this up you have to really suck at cooking because they are very forgiving).


Step 2

These potatoes are just about the most complete culinary thought I’ve ever composed. The idea for the coriander seed comes from the tadig (or crunchy bottom) found in Persian rice. It is the coriander seed that sets this dish apart for me. It gives the potatoes an after taste that if played correctly against the mixture of soft and crunchy textures gives me a full 4.5 inches of food boner.


Step 3

I will make these and return to the serving dish till they are gone and I am shamed. Bloated and shamed and very very happy.

Inviting you over for dinner is an excuse for me to do this again. I don’t care about you when I’m cooking I’m cooking for me. (Ok I care about you too but you have to understand I am a degenerate food fiend junky) I digress. The potato is everything the yam doesn’t even realize it should aspire to be. Fuck yams and their ass face.


Step 4, the yummy final product

Have you ever left thinking dang those yams was awesome (to be said in your best voice from the movie Idiocracy). No you haven’t and I rest my case.

Calvin Amari

photo from Dennis Hollingsworth

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.

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