Revenge of the Chronic Dieter
By Phyllis Salmons
The older I get, the more I look back to the early years of my life. It has probably been accentuated by the death of my mother in 2005 – there are so many things she knew about our lives and now she is unavailable to enlighten me. Adding to it, a little over two years ago, my sister Vera started a Facebook group called Vintage Vera. On that page, we sit on our virtual “front porch” and talk about things of the past. You see, when we were kids, the adults sat on the real front porch and visited while the kids played in the yard nearby. Naturally, one of the favorite memories of Mama and Granny is the delicious food they cooked. Come by and check us out sometime!
Unknown to us, Mama struggled to write down many of her recipes before she passed. Vera was on the verge of tossing out the composition book that Mama wrote in, but something told her to look again before discarding the book. Eventually, Vera decided to create a cookbook for the family and a few friends. In late 2010, Vera and I published the Vintage Vera Cookbook to document those early recipes we have always loved. When I think of Mama’s hard work rearing five kids, I am amazed. How in the world she found the time and the energy to cook is beyond me.
As Vera and I were typing many of the recipes, I frequently commented on the calorie and fat content. As children we burned off the calories. Adults worked so hard on the farms, on their jobs, and in the home, that they would never think of joining a gym. No one agonized over butter and whole milk being used in favorite recipes.
What a wimp I am today. My job is not nearly as physically demanding as my ancestors. I have succumbed to paying big bucks for the accessibility to a gym. My weight has always been an issue. With my lifestyle filled with time saving and energy saving devices, a less demanding job, and an aging metabolism, my thoughts are frequently on calories, fat content, and portion control.
Alas, if I ever get my body whipped into shape, I will always have to be very careful about what I eat. This realization caused a great depression when considering that I will never again truly enjoy delights such as Mama’s Sliced Sweet Potato Pie. How sad.
Here is her recipe from the Vintage Vera Cookbook
Mama’s Sliced Sweet Potato Pie
3 medium sweet potatoes
1 large can evaporated milk
2 cups sugar
1 stick of butter or margarine
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. flour
Crust for two-crust pie (homemade or store bought)
Boil sweet potatoes until fork tender, cool and peel. In a deep dish baking dish, line the bottom crust and sprinkle with flour. Slice the sweet potatoes into slabs and layer into dish until about three layers deep. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Mix evaporated milk with water to make about two cups of liquid. Pour the liquid over the potatoes, sugar and cinnamon. Cube butter and dot over the top. Use the second pie crust to cover the filling, making slits in the crust (or construct a lattice top). Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour until the crust is brown and the pie filling is bubbling. It may be wise to place a baking sheet under the dish prior to baking to avoid boil over. Good served hot or cold.
Now you can see why I lamented. How could I ever again delight in this delicious treat? To tell you the truth, I always loved to dollop a hearty serving a Breyer’s Vanilla Ice Cream on a hearty serving of the pie. Guess you know now why I have a weight problem.
Now don’t get me wrong – I am trying. In 2009 I lost a significant amount of weight. Since then, I have struggled to keep it off.
I’m depressed, I tell you. Oh, the sadness when I remembered the taste of Mama’s pie and the thought that I can never afford to have it again.
A few months ago, it occurred to me that a good number of the calories in pie are in the crust. Now Mama’s pie was great, but I do not make my own crust because of having cats in the house – there is a fear of finding a cat hair in the crust. So, back when I did cook these delights, I used store-bought crusts – not as good, but I felt an appropriate substitute under the circumstances.
Now, I love the crust as much as anyone, but it occurred to me that I should invent a “low-cal, low-fat” pie filling and omit the crust. Being that portion control is also my downfall, it is important to attempt small amounts so as not to overeat.
So I tried to make my lifestyle friendly version of Mama’s sliced sweet potato pie.
I purchased some of the 4”x6” foil pans so I would not make too much (probably three servings) and I made the following substitutions:
- About ¼ cup of Splenda Brown Sugar instead of the Granulated Sugar.
- 1 Tbsp. Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread instead of the butter.
- Two sweet potatoes boiled or baked
- ½ c. fat-free evaporated milk
- Having no crust, I did not use the spoon of flour
Mama’s version My no-crust version
312 per serving + calories in the crust 215 per serving
According to Google, pie crust is like to have at least 82 calories for 1/8th of the pie. Now take into account that I was eating a double serving of Mama’s pie WITH Breyer’s Vanilla and yikes – I figure I would likely put away 600 of so calories!
Upon tasting of my tasting my Crustless Sweet Potato Pie, truly I was doing a happy dance!
Now this has not solved my weight problems – that will be a daily battle. But at least once in a while, I can have a serving of Sweet Tater Pie – ALMOST like Mama made it. How can you adapt a favorite recipe to be more 2012-friendly with your lifestyle? Think about it!