Sweet Potato Pie from Never Meant to Meet You

This stopover on the TLC Book Tour found me reading (and enjoying) Never Meant to Meet You by Alli Frank and Asha Youmans.

About the Book:

Publisher: Montlake (October 1, 2022)Paperback: 319 Pages

From the authors of Tiny Imperfections comes a riotously funny, emotionally real look at race and religion, love and heartache, and the realities of parenting through it all.

Self-appointed fixer of other people’s woes Marjette Lewis is uncharacteristically determined to keep to her side of the driveway when it comes to her flawless neighbor Noa Abrams. Professionally, Marjette has her hands full as she prepares for a new class of kindergarteners and her first year of teaching without her best friend, Judy, as campus “Black-up.” And at home, her son’s budding manhood challenges her expectations, and her vexing ex-husband continues to be a thorn in her side.

But when tragedy strikes Marjette’s street, and an unexpected child shows up on the first day of school with an uncle who has all the class moms aflutter, Marjette is forced to contend with both her neighbor and her own heartache over losing the life she once thought was guaranteed. Through laughter, tears, and the gift of found family, Marjette and Noa navigate the rituals of loss together and discover the strength to remake their lives whether they meant to or not.

About the authors:

Alli Frank:  The robustness of a farm girl, the honed sophistication of a city woman, a dash of Jewish chutzpah, and a heaping cup of endurance athlete and voila, you have Alli Frank. Alli was raised in Yakima, WA, the only child of two parents who instilled in her that hard work coupled with a resilient spirit will take you where you want to go. So up some of the highest mountains Alli climbed, down insanely steep terrain she skied and across long swathes of land she ran. To pay for all this adventure, Alli has worked in education for over 20 years in San Francisco and Seattle – from an overcrowded, cacophonous public high school to a pristine private girl’s school. She has been a teacher, curriculum leader, coach, college counselor, assistant head, private school co-founder, sometimes pastor, often mayor, and de facto parent therapist. A graduate of Cornell and Stanford Universities, Alli can still be found with her nose deep in a book or hunkered down at the movies, never one to miss a great story. Alli lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband, two daughters and terribly cute mini-Bernedoodle. When she needs good food (cause she can’t really cook) she turns to her co-author Asha Youmans.

Asha Youmans:  Asha Youmans was raised in Seattle, WA, by an educational and civil right pioneer father and a children’s hospital administrator mother, along with a sister and a brother she admires and adores. As a child, Asha was a member of a two-time city champions Double Dutch team, among the first wave of girls to integrate Little League baseball and rode a unicycle, tumbled and juggled as a member of a traveling circus acrobatics team. She also read everything she could get her hands on from X-Men comic books to the “Clan of the Cave Bear” series to Camus. Enrolled in gifted programs while attending public school, Asha went on to graduate from one of America’s premier private academies, Lakeside School, from which her father, TJ Vassar, earned a diploma as the school’s first black graduate. After receiving a degree from the University of California, Berkeley, Asha returned to Seattle where she taught in public and private schools for nearly 20 years. Asha is a fabulous home cook who loves storytelling and connecting with others by making them smile. She lives with her white husband, two ethnically ambiguous sons, and a dog that is part Yorkie and part who-the-heck-knows. Tina Imperfections was her first book.

What I thought…

I truly enjoyed this book.  I loved the voice given to Marjette, the narrator.   I also appreciated that Marjette hailed from Tulsa, OK and devotes her life to the teaching of other people’s children.

Marjette is no nonsense.  As a single mother raising a teenage son while wrangling five-year-olds by day, she can’t help but be driven and sometimes a bit hard.  Besides her bestie Judy, she doesn’t have time for friendships.   Then a neighborhood tragedy connects her with her next door neighbor, Noa, someone that she would have never sought out as a friend.

Her friendship with Noa is an awakening for both of them and leads Marjette to finally embracing love.

I enjoyed all the food references in the book as well as the humorous banter between the females as they foster a new friendship.

My only complaint is that of a minor mystery in the novel, that of a key ring.  It seemed like the wrap-up of the key question was a bit forced and contrived.

I would recommend this book.  It’s a quick read.  The authors (probably Youmans if the above bios are correct) provide two recipes that figure into the narrative:  Asha’s Fried Chicken and Alli’s Sweet Potato Pie.   My edition also included book club prompts.

The Food:

Marjette loves to cook and hunky Max owns a bakery so there’s a lot of food besides fried chicken and sweet potato pie in the novel.

  • carrot cupcakes and pulled pork sandwiches (21)
  • turkey sandwiches with cheddar and mustard on sourdough (25)
  • strawberry-peach scones (46)
  • chocolate and vanilla eclairs (59)
  • chocolate macaroons and shortbread (67)
  • slow cooker ribs (69)
  • lasagna with fresh rolled pasta and garden vegetables (78)
  • no-calorie “grief pie” (85)
  • taco fixings (102)
  • gumbo (113)
  • cornbread dressing, smoked ham and the rest of a Thanksgiving menu (122)
  • pumpkin, cinnamon apple and praline pies (123)
  • collards (136)
  • Baked macaroni and cheese (137)
  • fresh guacamole (152)
  • Cheez-Its (167)
  • mini-cucumber sandwiches, pigs in blanket (with multiple dipping sauces), iced heart cookies and red velvet cupcakes (175)
  • Madeleines and profiteroles (181)
  • Valentine chocolates (182)
  • moules marinières and frites (187)
  • battered pickle chips (188)
  • navy bean and corn chowder soups (192)
  • gazpacho (242)
  • twice-baked potatoes and rib eye (273)
  • Niçoise salad, fried chicken and pulled pork (286)
  • carne asada burritos (287)

Since it’s nearing pie season and I had sweet potatoes languishing on the cabinet, I decided to try the sweet potato pie recipe featured in the book.

 Sweet Potato Pie

Alli Frank and Asha Youmans from Never Meant to Meet You

Marjette, the narrator of the novel, makes this pie to help a grief stricken neighbor.  There are no calories in “grief pie.”


  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. evaporated milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk.)`
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 t. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 t. ground cloves
  • 1/2 t. ground ginger
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 T. flour


  1. Boil sweet potatoes whole in skins for 40-50 minutes (or until done). Drain and run under cold water. Remove skins.
  2. Mash sweet potatoes in a bowl of a stand mixer. Add butter and lemon and mix well with with the whip attachment. Mix in sugars, milk, eggs, spices and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Add the flour. Pour filling into an unbaked 9-inch pie crust.
  3. Bake at 350 F for 55-60 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up like a soufflé and then will sink down as it cooks.

Yield: 6

Prep Time: 60 mins.

Cook time: 60 mins.

Total time: 120 mins.


You’ll notice a used a store bought pie crust for time’s sake.  This recipe, however, is truly deserving of a homemade crust.  There’s a recipe for that as well in the novel.  The lemon juice just adds the right amount of tang.

Thanks to TLC for the opportunity to read this novel.  Please check out what everyone else thought.


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6 comments to Sweet Potato Pie from Never Meant to Meet You