A sweet potato is many things. It’s a vehicle for butter and marshmallows. It’s a colorful alternative to boring white potato salad. It’s the secret filling to making pumpkin pie’s hip cousin. But it’s not—and never will be—a piece of bread.
The confusion started when a food blogger posted a story about how to make sweet potato toast three ways. As the most devout sweet potato lover (ask my coworkers), I had to try it. I thought this could finally be the way to sidestep the 20-minute (minimum) roasting time for my near-nightly dinner. I obediently sliced a potato into planks, toasted it twice as instructed and . . . it didn’t work. OK, I figured, maybe I have a particularly resilient sweet potato. I tried a third toast for good measure and still, nothing.
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Not only had I wasted time that could have been spent making three pieces of (legit) toast, and thus a double-decker PB&J, but I’d massacred a sweet potato for no reason. And although the butchered potato eventually found its way into a one-pot lentil stew—I’d never throw it out—I felt completely duped.
When King George III mistreated those first innocent pre-American colonies, they handed over a list of why he couldn’t do that, otherwise known as the Declaration of Independence. Not one to shy away from innovation (cacao tahini freezer fudge? yes, please), consider this a voice for root vegetables. Albeit less is at stake here than the birth of a nation, you alt toasters hear my cry: Leave Britney sweet potatoes alone.
The best part of a sweet potato is its silky inside, rendered spoon-tender when cooked in the oven. This is, by definition, the opposite of desired toast texture. I’m not against slices of sweet potato in any way. They’re a choice hearty side, or even main course when boosted up with toppings like chickpeas, greens and tahini. But toast this is not, and definitely not an ingredient intended for seeing the inside of a toaster.
“But I’m gluten free!” you might argue. There’s a bread for that. Or 10. “I’m a carb-a-phobe!” Sweet potatoes are just as carb-y as bread. According to the USDA, a raw, unprepared sweet potato is 20 percent carbs. Usain Bolt eats sweet potatoes. And you don’t become the fastest man in the world without carbohydrates on your side.
Sweet potato toast merely adds to the list of food crazes that just don’t work. Lettuce cups are one thing; they keep it together and get the job done. But avocado burger buns? Do you want your hands coated in slime? And maybe I’m in the minority, but there’s no way my mouth could fit around that stack, even if I manually disabled my jaw. Another trend is to use two tomato halves as a bun. But there’s no way you’d escape the volcano of tomato juice unscathed.
A cursory scroll through Instagram would have you believe that when it comes to toast, the limit does not exist: Avocado. Peas. Mushrooms. Ice cream. But the limit exists. And that limit is sweet potatoes.
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