It’s been a long and cold winter here in “Hotlanta.” We’ve survived snow, ice, and –in my case-packed on an extra couple pounds due to being snowed in with one too many brownies. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we are ready for warmer weather. This newsletter is packed with exciting news for readers and authors who are working on their manuscript. First, for the authors: on April 26, 2014, Ann Hite and I will lead a workshop in Atlanta. Ann and I have planned a delightful workshop that will teach you how to create memorable characters and tap into your creativity.
The workshop is affordably priced and lunch is included.
Visit this link to learn more about the conference. Early bird registration is NOW until
March 1, 2014.
Additionally, for those who have completed a manuscript, critique sessions and editing services are available.
Please tell your friends about this workshop.
NEW BOOKS YOU SHOULD READ:
Spring means the release of NEW BOOKS: I am proud to be the cheerleader for several books you should read this spring. I’ll start with Project Keepsake because-well-I have a story in this book. Do you have treasured keepsakes? Most of us do which is why I was honored when Amber Nagle asked me to contribute to her collection. Project Keepsake releases in just a few weeks. Get ready to read some delightful stories. Click here to learn more about Amber and buy a copy of the book.
For the Horse Lover If you love discovering new authors, I have one for you. R.L.M Tipton is new to the publishing world. Her supporters have been waiting, for Thou Shalt Fly Without Wings for some time. Tipton offers a look into the world of horses, and horse champions. These stories are from the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky. If you have ever loved an animal, you will love this book.
Now, Let’s Get Sassy: Beth Albright is a gem of a Southern Belle who is the author of the Sassy Belle series. Beth creates characters that readers adore. Just in time for Spring, she has released a charming novella that you simply must check out (Click here). Readers hope she’ll stop by Atlanta on her way to Alabama during her next tour. I’ll keep you posted via Facebook. Y’all must meet this Belle.
Life is finally wonderful for Tuscaloosa’s Blake O’Hara Heart: a rekindled love affair with her high school sweetheart and a precious new baby on the way. But when she gets an unexpected call from Harry Heart, her soon to be ex-husband, Blake’s new sweet world is turned upside down.
Spring Means New Beginnings: I met Shellie Rushing Tomlinson a little over a year ago and this little Belle of All Things Southern is the real deal. Her lovely book titled, Heart Wide Open speaks to my heart. When I started reading it, I thought I would scan a few pages, but no, I found myself doing something I never do . . . writing notes in the margin! I became so inspired and excited that I sent her texts in the middle of the night. Fortunately she is in a different time zone and didn’t mind.
There is so much to share about this book. I want to quote my favorite parts, but I am won’t because this is her baby and she gets first dibs. I will say that Shellie penned some of the thoughts I’ve felt as I walk a life of faith. This is the PERFECT gift to slip inside an Easter basket, but be warned, buy two copies because you will want to keep a copy for yourself.
And Finally, about Me: Mercer University is still on target to release the latest installment of the Billy Albertson book in the fall of 2014. If you haven’t downloaded my short story collection or purchased my other books, you can do so here. I am currently working hard at my first novel.
I am passionate about literacy, gardening, and I still help Billy Albertson on his farm. Friends, family, and you-the reader- are important to me. If you like my books, please tell your friends. I am only successful if you tell others about my work. If you are a blogger or belong to a book club, please contact me so we can talk about booking events and guest blog posts.
Contact me via my website www.reneawinchester.com.
I have a face, or a smile, or a goofy look about me that compels complete strangers, and life-long friends, to tell me their secrets. For that reason I am a vault packed chockablock full of things people have told me through the years all while they whisper, “Don’t you dare tell a soul.”
And I don’t. Whisper your secrets in my ear and they are safe.
But Robin didn’t tell me a secret. She shared her soul.
To set the scene, I was at the Rose Glen Literary Festival. Imagine a room filled with 49 authors. Mix in another hundred or so booklovers and another hundred who were dashing in-between author sessions.
Robin followed me back to my table. I had just finished speaking and if you’ve ever heard me speak you know that I try my level-headed best to encourage fledgling authors, many times to my own exhaustion. But this story isn’t about me. It is about Robin.
Please, don’t think this post is about me, at all.
Her hand held a crumpled Kleenex. Her cheeks were sunken and her skin bore the familiar pallor of cancer. And, if you’ve ever heard me speak you know that I usually ask readers to pray for my mother, who has ovarian cancer.
“I was wondering if you could tell me how to find a group of people who might read my work and tell me if it’s really any good. People have told me my work is good, but . . . well. . . she paused, what I really want is to publish my work before I die.”
All authors say this, but in Robin’s case the expression is literal.
Robin then said, “I’ll pray for your mother.”
I looked up at her, really looked and saw this woman as a broken bird. She hovered, barely fluttering to stay in flight.
“What type?” I asked knowing that she was struggling with something.
“End stage breast cancer. I knew I had it three years ago, went to my doctor. She told me it wasn’t cancer, gave me some sort of hormone cream to rub on my breasts.”
Robin paused and smoothed a strand of her red-haired wig. “But I knew, deep in my gut. . . I knew that I should not rub hormone cream on me. I knew it was breast cancer even then. Me and my husband were getting a divorce and you know . . .” her voice trailed off.
I wanted to say, Oh Robin, if you only knew how much I knew. I was sitting in the very spot, within eyeshot of the same golf course my where my ex-husband had played golf so many years ago. If anyone knew what she had lost it was me.
She had lost it all and just when she thought there was nothing else to lose, cancer took her health leaving her with nothing, nothing, but fear, loneliness and the ear of a stranger.
“My momma’s gone too,” she said her chin lowering, her hand coming to her eye to catch a falling tear. “I miss her.”
I replied, “I’ll pray for you.” Robin nodded and asked some particulars about publishing. She told me how she writes (by hand, purple pen to paper). She explained that she doesn’t have a computer (sold it). She doesn’t have a career (was once a photographer, now too sick). And she laughed this time when she said, “I want to get my work in a book before I die.”
“Would you mind if I prayed now,” I said and when she nodded I grabbed her hand.
For the record I do not consider myself an eloquent prayer. Not in private or public. I don’t remember what I prayed, I only did what I felt lead (or called) to do. Then I came around the table and gave her a hug. That was when my little Robin fluttered, when the energy she’d been using to remain upright gave way.
Our hug was the kind that joins two souls. A kind of physical connection so strong I could feel her tiny abdomen fluttering against mine with each cry. Tears fell wet on my thin jacket, soaked through the fabric and onto my skin. As her tears wet my hair all I could say was “You’re ok. I’ve got you. I’ve got you.”
But this post is NOT about me. It is about my broken friend Robin. I do not have her. God does.
I wanted to take her picture but my daughter forbade it; said Robin wouldn’t want me to share it. I argued that she was beautiful to me but my daughter gave me the look. I defer to my daughter. She is wise beyond her years.
What I want from you my friends is to shower Robin with love. I want you, my readers, to help me hold Robin up, for as long as we can.
If you have ever been afraid−not the eek! kind of fear that comes from finding a spider in the bathroom−but genuine fear and loneliness, please consider sending Robin a card. Contact me via my email reneawrites(atsymbol)gmail.com and I will share her mailing address.
Robin’s healthcare is 100% through the Health Department. And I don’t have to climb up on my soapbox about how the poor and indigent receive substandard care and how easy it is to get lost in a healthcare nightmare. Robin said it took a full year to get an appointment to see the doctor, to even receive care at the Health Department. By then she was end-stage.
Can we even imagine how she feels?
When I wonder what God’s plan is for me, when I look at my God-given “gift” all I see is a BIG mouth. And today I am using this mouth to ease Robin’s loneliness. Sadly, there are thousands like her, people who are afraid, and who will die alone. But God didn’t show me them, he showed me Robin.
So if my words have moved you, please send me an email. When you write I ask that you do NOT mention me. I would like this “Love Project” to be one where we just send her cards from random strangers. Of course you can include your mailing addresses, but I don’t think she can afford to return the correspondence. Perhaps we can each send her a little something, stamps, stationary . . . pens, but the Bible says we aren’t to boast when we help another. Do what you feel led to do but do not tell me what it is. My job is to tell you about her, to give those who ask her mailing address. The rest is up to God.
Because this post, isn’t about us, it is about our new friend Robin.
Please, PLEASE, share this. If you share on Facebook, please write a short sentence asking your friends to read the post. Let us shower Robin with love.
Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Mountain Memories: True Stories and Half-Truths from Appalachia. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes earned her a SIBA and GAYA nomination. In 2014, Mercer University Press will release her next book titled Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches. Email her through her website at www.reneawinchester.com I would be honored if you’d download a copy of my work.
The temperatures climbed to a balmy 60 degrees on Sunday. And while I wanted to lie outside like a lizard on a rock, for some reason, my daughter and her friends thought Sunday was the perfect time to go ice skating. C’mon now, really?
Just days from having an unprecedented snow and ice storm which left enough ice to skate in my driveway, the girls house wanted to go skating. (I blame the Olympics) Just about everyone in Atlanta has cabin fever. It’s not that we want to put our children’s safety at risk, but if they don’t return to school (soon) we momma’s are going to start screaming like banshees. So it was with sheer joy that I dropped the teenagers at The Cooler, and pulled the people mover into a parking space. I tightened my shoelaces, donned sunglasses and stepped into the glorious sunshine determined to work off the extra pounds that magically appeared after five days of being trapped inside with nothing to eat but brownies.
Usually, I multi-task during my walks. I call friends, or my parents. Walk time is catch-up time, one when I do my best to disguise the tears and pray my voice won’t crack after learning that my momma’s hematocrit is two. (Yes. One plus one = 2). Today, as I wrapped my hands around my cell that still small voice told me to run to the throne instead the phone.
I’ve been analyzing my life a lot lately, worried because my daughter will be a senior next year. Worried, because I do not have enough money saved for her college; worried because, despite my efforts, finding a full-time job has been impossible; worried that my next book won’t be well received.
And I know, truly know in my heart, that worry is not of God.
Authors are a worrisome lot, especially in today’s world. There is so much negativity out there: shrinking advances, lackluster sales, Amazon-the devil incarnate-driving small bookstores out of business. Still, many of my peers are doing well. They are doing very well and I love hearing about their success because it gives me hope. I am happy for them, but I also want some of their success.
Honesty: that is what you always receive when you read my blog. Honesty. On this little blog I open a vein and share my soul. I have been an author for ten years now and while my time is but a blink compared to other authors, I have worked hard to grow and improve which is why as I walked I asked myself, what do I want?
I ticked off a list:
I want my mother to be healed of cancer.
I want to sell a lot of books.
I want my daughter to do well in school, well enough to earn a partial scholarship.
I want to finish my novel in progress
I want to restore my Dad’s Jeep.
I want to have money left over at the end of my husband’s pay day.
I want to return to school.
As I turned and walked back up the hill toward the parking lot, God whispered, Are you done?
So I thought some more.
I want a lot of people to come to my writer’s workshop in April. (Because I have so much to share).
I want more fledgling authors to use my editing services.
I want the weather to be clear when I travel to TN for a conference next week.
I want to sell books at the TN event.
I want to stop worrying.
I want what He wants for me.
Ding. Ding. Ding!
Finally. After the third trip up and down the concrete hill, I got it. God doesn’t want me to rattle off a list of what I want. He already knows what I want and what I need. What I really wanted, what I really needed wasn’t any of the things that I had mentioned.
Sometimes I imagine God gazing down on me and asking my relatives who are in heaven, “Who’s got money on three times up the hill . . . cause she’s almost there.”
I didn’t want to be as successful as my friends. I didn’t even want to be more successful than my friends. I wanted to trust God to give me what I need, and I want to accept that what He gives me is the best for me. I really want peace. Peace that only comes when I trust Him first.
Because if I get all of the things on the list and I don’t have a relationship with Him, then what good are those “things?” What good is money, college, a refurbished Jeep, Momma’s health when compared to my relationship with Him?
Turning, I headed down the hill again, only this time I said. “Lord, I don’t want the success my friends have. I want what you have in store for me. What you’ve got already planned with my name on it. I want to stop worrying. You know I am not afraid to do the work. You know that I work as hard as anyone my size possibly can, but you also know that somehow, somewhere deep inside of me I don’t really trust You to keep your promises. For that I am sorry. Forgive me. Replace my want of things with a want of You!
My legs were burning as I climbed the hill, but my burden was lighter as I realized that what I want, and what I need can only be found if I trust The One who made me.
He will keep his promises, of that I am certain.
I would be honored if you’d download a copy of my work. Visit the links below:
Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Mountain Memories: True Stories and Half-Truths from Appalachia. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes earned her a SIBA and GAYA nomination. In 2014, Mercer University Press will release her next book titled Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches. Email her through her website at www.reneawinchester.com
With frigid temperatures blanketing most of the Northeast, and the Super Bowl countdown underway, today I thought I’d share a delicious and satisfying gumbo recipe. For those who love gumbo, but can no longer tolerate gluten, take heart, you won’t even miss the roux, I promise. I can almost hear my Cajun friends. “Gumbo without roux. . . that’s sacrilegious. ”
Oh contraire mon frère, life without gumbo, now that’s sacrilegious.
Equipment: Cast Iron Skillet and gumbo pot
1 large onion
2 cans chicken broth
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
1 large bell pepper (any color)
1 large jalapeno (or more, depending on your tolerance)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Bay leaf (you just have to include a bay leaf)
2 Cans Chopped Tomatoes (or 1 quart jar of tomatoes from your garden)
Tabasco sauce (quantity depending on your tolerance)
2 pounds Carolina Pride Smoked Sausage
2 pounds of shrimp (gulf-coast shrimp only) Note: Add it last
Creole or Gumbo seasoning of your choice
A Bit of History: Before I start chopping, I have to tell you about the Carolina Pride Company. When my husband went on the Atkins- low carb-high protein diet-I wanted to make sure the meats I prepared contained the least amount of preservatives possible. Standing in front of the smoked sausages, I read the labels. Are you a label reader? You really should be. It’s scary stuff. Finding a smoked sausage that did not contain MSG was nigh on impossible, then I read the back of the Carolina Pride Smoked Sausage. No MSG. Well now, I already knew this company: Southern to the core from Greenwood South Carolina, this company has been around since 1920. So for me, it’s only Carolina Pride for my family. With that out of the way let’s get to chopping.
Note: Instead of stirring a roux for hours, you will use a pot and a skillet.
Instructions: I like to do all of my chopping, slicing, and can opening as prep work. Then add everything when necessary. Dice the onions and peppers and set them aside. Slice the sausage into bite sized pieces.
Heat cast iron skillet and pour2 generous tablespoons of olive oil into the skillet. Add sausage. Cooking the sausage first releases the flavors. Partially brown the sausage in the skillet and then transfer into the pot. Turn heat on low.
Still using the skillet, add onions and chopped peppers. Cooking the vegetables immediately after the sausage allows the vegetables to absorb the yummy flavor from the Carolina Pride Sausage. Cook until the onions become translucent.
Now the trick: transfer the vegetables into the gumbo pot and deglaze your skillet. Turn the heat on the skillet to high. Pour in one can of chicken broth. This “deglazes” the skillet, releasing the remnants of yummy flavors. Pour stock into pot.
You are now done with the skillet.
Pour canned tomatoes into pot and stir. Adjust heat to medium.
Add bay leaf, frozen okra and second can of chicken broth.
Cover and cook for at least 20 minutes or until okra is the consistency you like.
Taste. Add pepper, salt, creole seasoning and Tabasco to your liking.
Then, the shrimp is added last. Because shrimp cooks fast, I always add it last. This will keep your shrimp moist and not rubbery. Shrimp is done when it turns a beautiful pink color.
Spoon over rice. Enjoy the gumbo and do let me hear your thoughts about this recipe.
Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for reading my blog. Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Mountain Memories: True Stories and Half-Truths from Appalachia. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes earned her a SIBA and GAYA nomination. In 2014, Mercer University Press will release her next book titled Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches. Email her through her website at www.reneawinchester.com
My friends, I must ask, what in the world is going on?
I ask this open-ended question because I am puzzled, worried and sometimes even disgusted at the behavior of people these days. Regular subscribers to my blog will notice that I have been absent from the blogosphere, silently pondering whether I want to continue to feed information about my life for strangers to read. I have grown weary of the emails, and negative words that weigh heavy.
This is the tradeoff authors endure. A public life equals public opinion. Thankfully 99.9 percent of my readers are kind. (Love to y’all). Still, I’ve had to callous my skin during my 10 year journey as an author. And during this journey one of my most important take away points is this: Every-Single-Person is going through something.
Everyone is going through something, which is why I have had to walk away from some people. Yes, I can understand, be compassionate, and try not to take negativity personally. I also have realized that I can’t love someone into being a better person. Usually, the more I love a negative and toxic person, the more they want to injure me. Why, Dear Ones, do people do that?
What does lashing out accomplish? Does uttering hurtful words at another person offer healing?
I try to be positive, to lend a kind word because-these days-hurtful words are a penny a dozen and kind words require a second mortgage.
Having cancer has taught me life is short. A blink. Why on earth my dear friends would I want to waste my limited breath on anything other than goodness?
Beyond my personal tragedies.
Beyond my concerns.
Beyond my weariness.
I try, to be positive. Because I’ve read the Bible a little bit and not once did I see Jesus being ugly to people. Jesus didn’t hashtag hatefulness. He bled grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love, then He commanded me to be like Him.
Me, a sinner has been ordered to be the best person I can be, to be kind and loving, to show grace when I really want to scream.
Today, I dashed into Target to fill my basket with cold remedies. Final exams are next week which can only mean one thing, a terrible cold for my daughter during the second most important week of school. Minutes later, I was walking to my car when I witnessed what some folk would call a Mexican Standoff. Six, yes six vehicles ranging from Prius to Hummer-size all backed away from their respective parking spaces simultaneously. Every single one. Since we’re in the holiday season one might expect, or hope, at least one of these drivers would extend a little holiday cheer.
One would be wrong.
No one budged. Because I feared being run over, I didn’t budge either. During this time I stood, wondering what God thinks about this behavior. This pushy, hurried, think-only-about-myself-behavior that we don with our winter coats.
Why, my friends, do we act this way? Why?
This parking lot display, which admittedly most people wouldn’t even notice, troubled me. This is supposed to be a happy season? Birthdays are BIG DEALS and December 25th is the biggest birthday of all time. Why my friends, have we taken our eyes off the reason for the season? Why is it so difficult to be the best person we can be every day?
Why are we being pushy? Why are we in twitter fights? Why have we blocked our own family on Facebook (because heaven knows we don’t talk to them face to face…mercy no!) Why are we so unhappy?
I returned home discouraged. Sometimes I think that Jesus gets very sad. That we hurt His feelings, and today I kinda hoped that someone in the parking lot would have extended a little kindness. So after I gave my daughter her medication I asked, Lord, what in the world is wrong with your children? Then a little post came across the Facebook screen. The post didn’t answer my question, but it did give me hope.
Enter Johnny Smith:
Now I don’t know Johnny from Adam’s housecat. I met him the way people find acquaintances these days, through a friend of a Facebook friend. But let me tell you something about Johnny. He gave me hope.
His Facebook post read My Testimony.
Take a moment and look at Johnny’s picture. Look at it closely. You don’t have to share your opinions with me, but I’d bet my non-existent farm you have drawn a conclusion about him based solely on his looks. You’ve already forgotten my words that everyone is going through something. Now read his testimony.
I’m writing this testimony for Jesus Christ, not seeking sympathy, praying someone reaches out to Jesus .
A few years ago I had lived most of my life a heathen. Never went to church much. My son had went missing, they found him dead in the woods. Brought back 65lbs in a body bag, he was 190lbs alive .I came home from his funeral, thinking, what kind of God allows this kind of thing to happen? Blaming God. My phone rang, it was a close friend (pee wee) his first words were. “Don’t let this make you turn your back on God.”
I said, “Gotta go, don’t wanna talk about this.”
Went to computer, a friend popped up and said, God loves you Johnny.
“I said, ‘God don’t love nobody’.’”
My friend asked, “Did you love your son?”
“Yes,” I said, “more than anything.”
“Would you have given his life?” my friend asked.
“No I said.”
My friend said, “Well God loved you so much he gave his son’s life for you.”
My response: “Gotta go dont wanna hear it.”
But when I stood up I could only think of God’s word and how much love for me it took to give His son. I raised my hands and asked for forgiveness. Had a strong urge to get to a church when Sunday came around. As we parked the car my heart was pounding. I went on in. Pounding got greater. I got up to leave the building but knew if I went out the door Satan would rule me. I turned went to the altar. Here I am Lord. I’m yours whatever it is you want for me. I felt someone breathing on my neck and shoulder. Turned to look, nobody was there, that I could see. Then the wind hit me in the face, blowing. Kinda scared me, I thought Lord this is you?”
Here’s what the spirit of God said, ‘YOUR TIME HAS COME. ALL YOUR LIFE YOU SAT BACK WHEN I DEALT WITH YOUR HEART. YOU SAW WRONG BEING DONE AND WALKED ON BY. BUT YOU CAME TO ME TODAY, YOU BELONG TO ME NOW AND YOU WILL SERVE ME THE REST OF YOUR DAYS ON EARTH.’ I had a peace go thru my body like I never known…and the man that walked out wasn’t the man that walked in. Amen. That’s when I became his servant.”
Johnny’s friends didn’t have to reach out. I have also learned that sometimes when you are hurting is when you are most alone. But they did. They reached out to him during Johnny’s lowest time and showed him God’s love. They responded to Johnny’s anger with the love of God. So today my friends, if you are stressed, angry, worried, and/or afraid let me say that most of us are too. All of us have felt betrayed, been angry (sometimes at God), felt alone, confused. We’ve said things we are ashamed of. (please ask that person for forgiveness) We’ve hurt people either accidentally, or on purpose. (please ask the person you have hurt for forgiveness). But every single day we all need the little baby in the manger.
God knew this. That is why one day a long, long time ago a tiny baby came into this world on Christmas morning to make you, me, and Johnny Smith, His.
He wants to call us His child.
Thank you for reading and thank you Johnny for letting me share your words with my readers.
Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Mountain Memories; True Stories and Half-Truths from Appalachia. Please download her e-book short story collection today. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes earned her a SIBA and GAYA nomination. In 2014, Mercer University Press will release her next book titled Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches. Email her through her website at www.reneawinchester.com
Once frost coats the punkin’ and Thanksgiving is behind me, I enjoy sweet potato chips for breakfast every morning. In fact, this blog post was very difficult for me to write. I am in a hurry for breakfast, impatient as I sprinkle cinnamon sugar and snap photos. But I wanted to share this delicious treat with you, my readers. Sweet potato chips can’t be beat. I’m not talking about chips made from yams. No sir. Chips (and fries) made from yams are almost always soggy. Shudder.
I am talking about the rural western North Carolina delicacy, the white sweet potato. My folk bake sweet “taters” in the oven, peel, and serve with a hunk of butter mashed in real good. Back in the day, most western North Carolina folk survived on sweet potatoes, packed them in their lunch pail, ate them with supper. When I learned that Billy Albertson had never tried a white sweet potato-found out that he was a yam man- I was on a one-woman mission to remedy that situation. My dad’s been growing these taters for years. He gets his “slips,” which are the sprouts necessary to grow the potato, from a local boy who lives in the community where Dad grew up. Are they organic and not genetically modified? You bet your life they are.
After introducing Billy Albertson to the white sweet potato, he also fell in love with the tender fleshy meat. So in 2011 we began growing white sweet taters, but had a dickens of a time convincing red clay folk to give them a try. They preferred yams. Now don’t get me wrong, yams (or sweet potatoes) have a place. Yes sir. mash them up real good, add some cinnamon, sprinkle with pecan topping and you’ve got the most delicious dish to grace the Thanksgiving table.
At least that’s my opinion.
Yams are stringy, strong in flavor and should be in a different category when compared to western North Carolina white sweet potatoes.
Now if you’ll notice in this picture Dad’s white sweet potatoes have a thick dark skin with ridges on the outside. That scared the red clay folk who were used to thin skinned, orange yams. Billy says the skin is thick on account of the soil, says the dirt is rich because of all that mountain organic matter dad adds (every single year). Billy says red clay grows a thinner skinned potato, and the hotter temperatures make a difference too. Another item of note is the size. White sweet potatoes are small, sometimes growing only as large as your finger. Hence the fancy name “fingerling potatoes.” Those are my favorite for baking. Larger ones are sliced for chips.
When slicing a sweet potato it is best to submerge the coin-shaped-slivers in water, or immediately begin the cooking process. As you see, with the potato on the left, they discolor speedy-quick. But don’t worry, discoloration does not alter the flavor. In fact, I am always worried about a potato that doesn’t darken when sliced. Makes me worry that someone has been tinkering in the gene pool, if you know what I mean.For those who would like to try their hand at making the chips, here is the recipe and a few more photos to guide you through the process:
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
2 white sweet potatoes
1 Tablespoon butter (more if potatoes are large)
1-2 Tablespoons Cinnamon Sugar
The Baking Process:
Dot sheet with butter and place in oven so butter will melt.
Slice potatoes and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Arrange potato slices on sheet so that they are not touching. Place in oven.
Bake 20 minutes, or until slices are no longer soggy. Note baking time depends on how thick you slice potatoes. It may be necessary to remove thinner potatoes early. And yes, it is perfectly acceptable to eat those immediately. Life is short. Why wait?
Remove from oven, place on paper towel which will absorb excess butter.
Local folk can purchase sweet potatoes from Billy located on Hardscrabble Road. Please note their availability is extremely limited. Once gone it will be November before you see them again.
Have you ever tried a white sweet potato? Please feel free to send me your favorite recipe.
Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Mountain Memories; True Stories and Half-Truths from Appalachia. Please download her e-book short story collection today. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes earned her a SIBA and GAYA nomination. If you liked this recipe stay tuned. In 2014, Mercer University Press will release her next book titled Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches. Email her through her website at www.reneawinchester.com