No. 40 – Orange You Glad? Enchantment Jan. 5, 2021

Often before my tiny Grandmother “Wee” made house calls on her friends, she made sure that I could go with her. It’s becoming clear that many of my people did not believe in the insulation of variegated facts from children. There were unpleasant truths everywhere and each grown-up did their best with the introductions of complex topics when they arose.

One afternoon Wee and I slid up onto the plush skating rink-sized front seat of her new white Cadillac. Without a word, she winked and handed me a stick of Fruit Stripe Gum. We were headed to Mary Trice’s.

As we chugged along, she nodded to a house with manicured lawn and blurted, “I despise that woman.” “What does despise mean?” I said desperate with the burden. “To dislike wholeheartedly,” she continued – “But…. I love Mary Trice.”

A single lady, Mary Trice was a fussbudget not interested with children in the least. I perked up when our host talked us into her sitting room. Acting as a carousel pole to the Victorian landscape was an elaborate bird cage, home to a Sun Conure.

For the rest of her life Wee quoted the comment that I made when we returned to the car. “That’s wonder, Wee!” I exploded to the glory of orange feather-hood.

So I’ll never know what made my love for orange go underground. Memory serves that during the 1970s, it was a “groovy” color along with the complimentary avocado green. For many years only smidges of terracotta, salmon and melon were allowed expression in the man made environment.

Still I loved orange then as I do today, though as I gaze around my house only the spines of certain books display the color that is noted to symbolizes energy, cheer and good health. That along with the new orange glazed pot that I bought to display my African violent (Did I mention that Mary Trice had hundreds?)

Could there possibly be a conspiracy conspiring in the design world? Some authorities claim pure orange to be brass and suggest that it “lacks serious intellectual values” and worse, bad taste. Oh dear.

I would like to point out however, that the color of the year announced by the Pantone Color Institute for 2019 was Living Coral, the year of a roaring good time which little did we know would have to last for a while. A classic blue ushered in the mind-bending frolic of 2020.

And if you don’t think there is a ruse cooking, consider this quote given to the New York Times by the CEO of Pantone when they announced the 2021 color of the year – Ultimate Gray (of course). He said, “It’s a dependable gray.” Pigeons, ash and gray hairs come to mind.

Yes, as one who finds a certain zest for living over in the unconventional bin, I’ll go for a touch of the citric as often as possible whether it’s pulling over to fully appreciate an orange-tinged cloud or gazing into a life affirming fire. For my money, saffron rice is the most elegant side, marmalade the most reassuring spread and the memory of my mother peeling a tangerine for me the most rockabye vision for a busy mind.

America’s greatest 20th century physic Edgar Cayce said, “Orange is the color of the sun. It indicates thoughtfulness and consideration of others.” Hence I’m motivated to share the fact that the trusty orange-fleshed sweet potato is your everyday miracle. Beyond the childhood pyrex casserole filled with mashed sweet potatoes, swirled in butter and topped with toasted marshmallows, the more savory blessing of the tuber manages properties for the well-being of all who partake.

A daily orange absorption of the beta-carotene drenched sweet potato is a tribute to natural healing. The body’s production of B12 is enhanced, an abundance of lycopene and amino acids to draw radiation from the body is activated, insomnia is overcome and productive bacteria in the stomach is promoted.

As if that was not enough blessed assurance, a serving can perform the modern duty of ridding the body of unusable estrogen (plastics, pharmaceuticals, environmental toxins and so forth) which interferes with the body’s hormones. Holy Mother of Vegetation!

While we continue to paint our world gray (and white), just remember that a pop of orange is good for you. After all legend has it that the Polynesians (and their loving cargo of sweet potatoes) pumped oars for 5,000 miles in double-hulled canoes to gift the Americas, a vein that I’ll imitate today in celebrating my friends’ new home. I’ll deliver an orange-themed meal to what I pray is a front door with an orange future.

Chili Lime Orange Wedges

Here is a family favorite and excellent New Year’s starter recipe to nosh upon as you launch yourself into God knows what because as Frank Sinatra dubbed it, orange is the happiest color.

2 sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons potato starch or corn starch
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 lime zest
1 lime juice
1 teaspoon salt and extra for final sprinkling
4 tablespoons olive oil

First take note that fresh lime is highly promoted for this recipe though chili powder may be substituted for the smoked paprika.

Scrub potatoes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place a baking rack on baking sheet and set aside.
Snip off the ends of each sweet potato and leave skin on.
Cut them in half length wise and then again and again making for 8 wedges for each potato.
If you can cut the long wedges in half to make for a more French fry length.
Toss the sweet potatoes in starch until they are all coated.
Then sprinkle paprika, lime zest, lime juice, salt and olive oil on to the wedges.
Use your hands to toss.
Arrange them on the baking rack and bake for about 30 minutes.
Broil at the end for crisping.
Finish with sea salt.