The Briar Philosopher - The Sweet Potato Lady

by Carmen Abner - Co-Editor

The Sweet Potato Lady

Last fall a dear lady stopped by the office to ask if we had any old newspapers she could get to wrap her sweet potatoes in for storage. I quipped that I would gladly trade her some old papers for a few sweet potatoes to make a pie and would share my recipe with her. She said she’d be happy to do so. Now, I’m always saying things like that to people so I didn’t really think much of it. I just gave her the papers, told her she was welcome to come back for more and went on with my day. She had shown me pictures of some of her crop and they were really impressive, the dark orange ones just like grandpa used to grow. Those things are so sweet you can just slice them and eat them raw.

Like I said, I didn’t really think much more about it. When I came into the office one afternoon last week, lo and behold there was a bag sitting beside my desk and in it were three of the biggest, most beautiful sweet potatoes I’d ever seen. It made me unaccountably happy to find them. It made me happy not just because I love sweet potato pie but because she’d remembered and was thoughtful enough to share her harvest with me. They will be put to good use for sure. Even now I have piecrusts waiting in the freezer and soon there will sweet potato pie to enjoy with a smile as I remember how much that small gift meant to me.

Unfortunately, I was not in the office when she came in and I failed to get her name or any contact information for her when she was here before so I didn’t get to share my sweet potato pie recipe with her and feel like I’ve let down my end of the bargain. I have it printed out now and waiting on my desk on the off chance she may come back by in search of more papers. Seems like a long shot though so I was wondering how else I might be able to get the recipe to her. Then it dawned on me, because occasionally I have more than 3 brain cells firing at one time, I can just run the recipe here and hope she takes the paper or that someone who knows who she is does and will share it with her. Also, there may be others out there who would like the recipe it being the holiday season.

So, here’s to you, Sweet Potato Lady. Thank you for your thoughtful gift. I hope this recipe finds you and that you like it as much as I do.

Sweet Potato Pie


• 1-1/4 cups sugar

• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

• 2 large eggs

• 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 1-1/2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes

• 1 unbaked pie crust (9 inches)


• 1/3 cup butter

• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

• 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

• 1/2 cup chopped pecans

• Whipped topping or ice cream


• In a bowl, blend sugar and spices. Beat eggs; add milk and vanilla. Combine the sugar mixture. Stir in potatoes; beat until smooth. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Combine topping ingredients. Remove pie from the oven; sprinkle with topping. Bake 10-15 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Store in the refrigerator. Serve with whipped topping or ice cream.

The philosophy of the importance of sharing and community are baked right in.