I’ll spare you the image of half-eaten ribs and chicken – Mike’s doggie bag from the judge’s tent yesterday – they crisped up quite nicely in the toaster oven, actually. Sometimes smoked chicken skin can be a little flubby.
W had leftover red spaghetti and chewed on a few ribs, but I just didn’t feel right about downing yet another platter of meat scraps for dinner without any veg, and we didn’t have any greens in the house. So I threw a whole sweet potato in the toaster oven, and look at it – is it not a thing of beauty? Don’t you love the way they almost take their jackets off in a hot oven? I’m always surprised that baked potatoes are such a common thing, and yet baked sweet potatoes aren’t. (Or roasted? It’s like the roast turkey/baked ham dichotomy.) Even if you plan to mash sweet potatoes, baking them first instead of boiling or microwaving them will give you far more flavour, and as you can see, they almost peel themselves.
I like eating them as is, right out of their jackets, drizzled with a bit of butter and maple syrup; or mashing them with some orange juice concentrate. They remind me of a passage I once read from Invisible Man (Ralph Elllison) where he stops on a snowy Harlem street to buy roasted sweet yams, bursting with brown syrup and drizzled with melted butter, from an old man selling them from a wagon equipped with a coal-fueled stove. (Who needs hot dogs and Doritos?) I want to cook them on a fire and carry them in my pockets to keep my hands warm.
I guess a toaster oven will do.