BOOK’S FOODIE: Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie (review)

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Last month, I was in Virginia to attend my cousin’s wedding. It was the first time in a very long time I’ve been on a plane so I looked forward to the trip. One of the days had me visiting a Walmart and as I was looking in the bakery section, I saw a logo that I had seen in a few photos. For the first time, I finally saw a box of sweet potato pie made by Patti LaBelle. I didn’t buy it then as I wasn’t sure if anyone else in the family was into sweet potato pie but it was great to see. I had posted a photo of my find online and someone said “it’s at every Walmart” and I replied by saying it was not at my local Walmart here in Washington State.

I then had to make a stop at the Mart and I decided to see if it actually was “at every Walmart.” All of a sudden, I saw the familiar logo and design and I had to try it. Fortunately, the pie was at a clearance price (under four dollars) so I purchased it, brought it home and waited to have my first slice after dinner.

I guess in my mind, all I have to do is cut a piece and put some whipped cream (which I did) or maybe vanilla ice cream, not bothering to read the instructions which said it’s best to warm up the pie in the oven before eating. I did warm it up in the microwave but I kinda prefer doing things the slow way. This time I did not but once I put a small bit of whipped cream on the pie, I was ready to go.

I’m a huge fan of sweet potato pie, as it was something my auntie made for years, who got to know about it from her ex-husband’s mom in Louisiana. Every Thanksgiving, I always looked forward to her sweet potato pie until, as her story went, a rat went into her recipe box and chewed up the recipe. The next time she had made pie, it lost what made it really good. Still good but not as good. This time I wanted to taste LaBelle’s pie, as a lot of reviews and YouTube videos made this out to be beyond impressive. However, the first bite and it tasted different from what I’m used to. The front of the box states it’s made with sweet potatoes, butter, and “spice” and that’s what stood out for me, what seems like a bit too much nutmeg. If it wasn’t for the whipped cream, I probably would not have liked it as much as I did, which to be honest was not a lot.

As much as I had hoped to enjoy this, I don’t think I will try this again. I would prefer to go to other restaurants to try others or if someone makes their own, I’d rather go there. On a scale of 1 to 10, I want to say maybe a 5 but I’ll go down a bit and rank it a 4. It’s not terrible nor is it inedible but the nutmeg is a bit too strong. Maybe this is how it is enjoyed in other places but… while it’s not complete hate, it lacks the love I had hoped for with it.

(NOTE: Since there was a LaBelle sweet potato pie there, I had hoped to try one of the cobblers made by her briend. It too was there and I bought one. I’ll have a review of that very soon.)

SOME STUFFS: Audio Fidelity release remasters of Billy Joel and LaBelle

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If you are a fan of Billy Joel or Patti LaBelle, you are going to love these two remasters on its way from Audio Fidelity. On the Billy Joel side, it’s a reissue of his third album from 1974, Streetlife Serenade, and while this was not a hugely popular album from him like future releases, but it did have “The Entertainer” as a single. Nonetheless, Streetlife Serenade is looked upon by Joel fans as the album where he needed to make some changes not so much with his music, but who was running it, and the album holds up quite well despite lower-than-expected sales at the time.

LaBelle’s Nightbird was the group’s fourth album and their first for Epic Records after releasing an LP on RCA that had minimal success. Whatever it was that caused it to make a hit, it worked, and that had to do with the songs on the album, which included the massive pop hit “Lady Marmalade”. The second single was a double A-sided hit and got a lot of attention on the soul charts, “What Can I Do For You?” b/w “Nightbird”. The spirit of New Orleans in “Lady Marmalade” was also partly due to The Meters, who were briefly label mates with LaBelle by association (The Meters were on Reprise, LaBelle were on Warner Bros.) and played throughoutNightbird, a year after The Meters found themselves in Dr. John’s “Right Place, Wrong Time”, also a massive hit on the pop charts. “Lady Marmalade” became not only LaBelle’s biggest hit, but one of Patti LaBelle’s biggest songs in her career.

As is the case with Audio Fidelity remasters, both are being released as hybrid CD’s, which means all regular CD’s will be able to hear the new version of the album. On top of that, if you have an SACD player, you’ll be able to hear the original quadraphonic mixes for the first time in 40 years, both which which haven’t been reissued until now. The discs will be out on April 21st.