Yamming It Up
For the past several weeks, our building has been participating in a program that promotes healthy eating among students, especially eating fresh fruits and vegetables. I will openly admit that I was not super thrilled with the program at the beginning, mostly because the framing of why we were doing it was not clear to me or to many of the other teachers I had talked to. But I still enjoyed being able to serve the fresh fruits and veggies twice a week and listen as my students discussed their reactions.
So far, I think their favourites have been foods they’ve had before, especially the carrots. Many enjoyed the first exotic fruit we had, the Ugli fruit. Today we had the first fresh food that nearly everyone in my class absolutely hated: raw yams.
When they first saw them, they were excited to try them. After all, we live in America, and kids all over the country have had sweet potatoes or yams at Thanksgiving. Of course, then the vegetable is cooked and served with brown sugar, butter, and marshmallows. (At least according to some recipes.) But they were willing to gamely try the snack that I assured them was healthy and good for them.
Well, it may have been healthy, and it may have been good for them, but the vast majority of them did not care for raw yams. Watching them eat them and then respond to the taste and texture provided yet another moment that I wished I had a video camera in my room to capture their responses. I won’t go into the details, but suffice it to say that my fourth graders much prefer yams when they are cooked and bathed in sugar.
I, on the other hand, quite enjoyed them. And the reactions of my students when they realised that I was not disgusted by raw yams.