By: FoodCorps Service Member Katie Sanders
This week at South Jackson Elementary School was all about the glorious sweet potato. After hearing of decreased interest in sweet potatoes on the lunch line, I decided to run a couple of taste testing opportunities to try and spruce up our consumption. Thanks to our friends over at Cedar Grove Farm we were well stocked with beautiful (and huge!) sweet taters.
On Tuesday I set up a taste test booth outside the cafeteria and served up sweet potato chunks that were roasted with cinnamon sugar. Our school’s student ambassadors, made up of 4th and 5th grade students, volunteered during their lunch time to assist with the tasting. They took statistical data on whether the other students tried it, liked it, and would try it again. We had 277 students try them and out of that group, 212 students liked them and would try them again!
On Wednesday I used my time with my after school club, Sprout Scouts, to be able to let the students decide how they wanted to cook up sweet potatoes. They all chose to make chips out of them with salt and pepper. Surprisingly, even some of the Sprout Scouts who declined the taste test from Tuesday tried the chip version and loved them!
Thursday was the main event though, as that was the day that they were serving sweet potatoes on the lunch line. Even after the increased sweet potato propaganda this week and the taste tests, the potatoes still weren’t the favorite lunch line option. It is funny how set children are on their dislike of sweet potatoes. However there were a few examples of sweet potato love. I had a handful of students who tried them for the first time and actually liked them! As well as more than one student telling me that they tried them on the lunch line after having them at the taste test. I’m learning that these little victories are what FoodCorps is all about so I’d say sweet potato week was a success!