Appetizers Vegetarian

The Flower Garden of the World and Sweet Potato Fritter Recipe

In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true. Buddha

I took a day trip with a friend of mine many years ago to a tiny village to the North Eastern part of Germany. I strutted through the town with my curly hair waving in all possible directions and dark skin, completely oblivious to the shock I was creating in this sleepy homogenous town. My friend and I went into a restaurant to have a meal, and it was then that I felt daggers of stares and glares from everywhere.

As I tried desperately to ignore the number of eyes that were observing my existence and every move, I noticed that one pair of those eyes belonged to a little girl. She was not glaring or whispering, making comments nor pointing. She was simply looking and had an open look of curiosity on her face.

Her bright blue eyes were glued to me, and I smiled at her. We spent minutes playing a game of stare and smile and look away, until she finally gained enough courage to confront me. She approached me with a timid smile and tugged at my arm, asking me why I look so dark.

I recalled a story that my mother told me when I was a little girl about her age. There was a gorgeous bouquet of flowers on the counter and I pointed to them asking the little girl what she thought of them. They are beautiful, she said. “I love flowers and so does my mom” she proudly replied. I asked her which flowers she likes, and she responded that she likes so many of them and could not possible choose just one.

I then asked the little girl to think about how the world would be if all the flowers in the world were all exactly the same-the same colour, the same shape and size, the same everything. She made up her face immediately and said that would be “really boring.”

I told her that the world is just like a huge flower garden, except that the flowers are the people. People come in different colours, shapes and sizes, to make up the beautiful garden of the world.

The little girl looked somewhat confused and after a few seconds of ponder and big wide eyes, asked me if that meant that I am just a normal lady like my mom with curly black hair and dark skin?

I smiled and nodded my head and she embraced me so beautifully, so purely-so innocently. 

Her parents then called out to her telling her that her “Kartoffelpuffer mit Apfelmüss (potato fritters with applesauce),” were ready (potato pancakes with apple sauce), and she ran off looking back at me smiling and waving.

I will never forget that interaction, and I hope that she holds it warmly within her memory bank as well.

Each time I eat Kartoffelpuffer, I remember that little girl. I hardly eat potatoes anymore, but use sweet potatoes generously in my diet. I wanted something that gave me the same warm and cozy feeling of the Kartoffelpuffer and these really hit the spot! My daughter loves them with apple sauce. Enjoy!

[lt_recipe name=”Sweet Potato Fritters” servings=”8″ total_time=”30 MIN” difficulty=”Medium” summary=”A lovely Sweet Potato cakes: From Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty” print=”yes” ingredients=”2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cubed and steamed until soft;2 teaspoons soy sauce;3/4 cup all-purpose flour;1 teaspoon salt;1/2 teaspoons sugar;3 tablespoons scallions, chopped;1 tablespoon red bell pepper, minced;butter for frying;;For the Sauce;3 tablespoons greek yogurt;3 tablespoons sour cream;2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil;1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice;3 tablespoons chopped cilantro;1/4 teaspoon Salt;1/4 Teaspoon ground black Pepper;;” ]Steam the sweet potato until soft, then drain in a colander to let the liquid come out. Meanwhile, whisk the sauce ingredients until smooth and set aside. In a mixing bowl, work all the fritter ingredients by hand – it should be sticky, so if it’s a little runny, add some flour. Do not over-mix.;;Dip your hands in water and shape walnut-sized balls with the fritter mix, then flatten so you have round cakes around 5cm in diameter and less than 1cm thick. Place on an oily surface.;;Melt some butter in a nonstick pan. Using a fish slice, lift the cakes in to the pan and fry on moderate heat until you get a nice, brown crust, turning as necessary – about six minutes. Place between two sheets of kitchen towel, to soak up the excess butter. Serve hot or warm, with the sauce on the side and a crisp green salad.[/lt_recipe]

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