Tasting: Sweet Potatoes

Tastings are a great way to introduce new items to the school menu, incorporate education about local and seasonal produce during lunchtime, and receive feedback from students on which healthy foods they favor and will eat again.

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Tasting: Sweet Potatoes

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Tastings are a great way to introduce new items to the school menu, incorporate education about local and seasonal produce during lunchtime, and receive feedback from students on which healthy foods they favor and will eat again.

Honey and Cardamom Sweet Potato Puree

Ingredients

Sweet potatoes
Honey
Cardamom
Butter or olive oil
Salt

Method

Roast the sweet potatoes at 350 degrees for about an hour, cut them in half, and remove the skin. In a blender, combine sweet potatoes. For 20 pounds of sweet potatoes, use 1 tablespoon cardamom, 1 tablespoon salt, a quarter pound (one stick) of butter or olive oil, and a quarter cup of honey

Why Sweet Potatoes?

For the past few weeks the kitchen staff and teachers have been noticing that our students weren’t eating their sweet potatoes. Baked whole, mashed, made savory or sweet, they simply were not eating them. This was puzzling, because for many, sweet potatoes are a favorite food. They are so versatile, essentially available year-round when properly stored, and most importantly, good for you. Sweet potatoes are full of beta carotene and vitamin A, which have excellent beneficial effects for our skin, immune system, and vision. Better yet, they are high in fiber and low in calories, and did I mention delicious? Thus, we decided to hold a tasting in order to see if the kitchen could prepare the sweet potatoes in a way the students would eat, or better yet, be excited to eat. The Honey Cardamom Sweet Potato Puree was definitely a success! Most of them Loved It! and a special few went around to other tables telling everyone else how much they had enjoyed it and kept circling back into line, trying to appear inconspicuous, to receive extra helpings. On the other hand, when a handful of students admitted they did not like the tasting and I asked them why, they responded that they liked regular potatoes more than sweet potatoes. This is an interesting point, because a sweet potato is not a variation of a regular potato. They are botanically different vegetables. It’s akin to comparing apples and oranges. What was once simply a question of how do we convince our students to eat sweet potatoes was quickly becoming a question of how do we instill an appreciation of sweet potatoes for what they are–deliciously unique–rather than what they are not–a white potato’s strange looking cousin. It was no longer a matter of preferring a regular potato over a sweet potato. It was a matter of loving both equally, at the same time, without comparisons.

But how?

Serve more sweet potatoes, of course!

 

 

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