It’s still yam week, but I haven’t cooked any yams yet because I haven’t found a volunteer to go to the farmers’ market with me to root out the authentic Library of Congress science nerd version of the real thing. I had been doing well at the farmers’ market lately, navigating the imposing bins with ease, but on my most recent trip I went in search of a rutabaga and wound up in the check-out line with a tap root. I thought maybe tap root was just special farmers’ market code language for rutabaga, but I asked just in case. The cashier didn’t even blink.
“No, it’s tap root.”
“But, is there a difference between tap root and rutabaga?”
She rolled her eyes, huffed and said it louder and more slowly, “It’s–TAP–ROOT.”
So I’m back to my vow of taking a chaperone with me to the farmers’ market until I’m satisfied I can go without getting lost or yelled at. Thanks a lot, Tap Root Lady.
However, my farmers’ market foibles and that mean Tap Root Lady did not deter us here at JVV from having a major breakthrough last night. I mean, technically, all the battles I win are breakthroughs, obviously, but last night I had a real, bona fide, ‘holy shit, I know shit’ breakthrough.
I had dinner out with Christa, the food expert, at one of my new favorite eateries, The Corner Pub, which we chose because their menu is chock full of fresh, local, Southern-ish, frou frou fare. Whenever I have dinner out, inevitably one of the first things people ask is what the week’s vegetable is. That is some quality small talk right there. Then everyone consults the menu to order for me. Less awesome. So last night my dinner companions immediately zeroed in on the parsnip and yam latke appetizer. The important thing to note about the parsnip and yam latke appetizer is the parsnips. If I had not already won parsnips back on Terrible Vegetable Smorgasbord Sunday, I absolutely would have abandoned the latkes without hesitation. But since they’re officially part of my diet now (I kind of hate that rule), parsnips weren’t allowed to be the reason I vetoed latkes. Now it was all up to the yams.
Let the breakthrough begin.
Me: “Well, they probably aren’t really yams.”
Christa: “They’re the same thing.”
And then I’m pretty sure a light shined down on me from heaven, angels sang songs of sweetness in my ears, and echoes of “you’re right, you know this shit, you’re right” bounced off the brightly shimmering walls of gold all around me. Am I dead? Is this really happening? Am I about to…
Me: “Actually, Christa, botanically, yams and sweet potatoes are two different vegetables. Historically, yams come from Africa and Asia, but the ones we have here are mostly sweet potatoes.”
…school the food expert? Oh, yes I did. That happened. No fucking lie.
The server, who had been watching this unfold while she waited to take our order, jumped in to confirm my rightness and Christa relented. The server went on to tell us the chef buys all his produce at the farmers’ market (without a chaperone, no doubt), and since the science nerds told us our best bet for finding the real deal would be in an international market, we decided the likelihood was high that Corner Pub’s yams might actually be yams.
The fact that I still need third-party verification to authenticate my knowledge is fine with me; I’m still goddamn right. This is a monstrosity of a moment for JVV. Feel free to congratulate me with gifts of shoes.