Sunday, August 30, 2015

Yes, we have no bananas

"People on the Street" is a regular front-page below-the-fold feature in the Saturday edition of our local daily, The Tipton County Tribune.  Yesterday's question was "What's your favorite vegetable?"

The reporter sought out children ages eight to ten to whom she posed the question.  Before reporting the children's responses the writer offered several  "tips" on getting the kiddies to eat their veggies.  The moment I read the question my answer came to mind.  But first the children.

Kaiye, age 10, said, "Broccoli raw with Ranch dip.  Green is my favorite color and broccoli is green.

Paul, age 8: "My favorite  vegetable is apples.  I eat them raw.  I really like the flavor of apples.

Eric, age 9 said,  "I like carrots because my parents said they are really good for your eyes.  I like carrots raw or cooked."

McKae, age 10 replied, "Carrots are my favorite vegetable.  I don't like any other vegetables.  I eat carrots raw or cooked. "

Maelee, age 10: " I really like the flavor of carrots.  I like to eat them raw."

Now Me, age ancient:  Potatoes.  My guess is that potatoes are the favorite vegetables of more than seventy percent of the American people, young and old.  But they are so commonplace, so ubiquitous, so served at every meal that people don't think of them as vegetables.

Baked, boiled, fried, mashed, hashed, in the soup, in the goop, scalloped, Au gratin, so long as they are not rotten, french fries, potato chips, smack your lips.

And yet these youngsters picked broccoli (20%) and carrots (60%).  I don't know what to say about the 20% who said apples.  But I like apples, too.  My guess is that in a cold survey among people who have not read my little article that while the favorite for more than 70% really is potato, fewer than 5% would answer "potato."

I think we become so accustomed to our preferences that we sometimes jump the rails when confronted with a head-on question regarding them.  And I'd bet McKae eats french fries.

As nearly as I can determine from my extensive (three-minute) research, the potato is, in fact, the number one vegetable in the United States by consumption.  The tomato is second, thanks to a government fiat declaring it a vegetable and primarily, I suspect, due to the enormous consumption of pizza in America.


Ilene said...

Yep! I eat potatoes every day unless, of course, sweet corn is in season. This is due to a lesson I learned from Mom.....Two starches at a meal were not allowed, but there were two exceptions to that rule. These were bread and dessert, which were menu essentials at every meal (well Dad thought so, anyhow). Perhaps this is why there were restrictions on other starch sources. Yes, she called them starches, not carbs, and this was long before most people were counting them.

Grace said...

Nope, no white potatoes for me in any form. Sweet potatoes/yams on the other hand, any time. On those occasions that we have steak, which isn't often. I do have a very small baked potato but once I smother it in black pepper and sour cream, I hardly notice. I do like broccoli but since my husband won't touch the stuff I never get to eat it. (I hate to cook so cooking 2 different meals for 2 people doesn't happen). So many things I no longer eat because either my husband doesn't like them or what is available where I live is grossly inedible. *sigh* Of course more effort on my part would help in the first instance but you know, after 69 years, I'm kinda tired of eating.

Secondary Roads said...

Although, botanically speaking, tomato is a fruit.

It is expressed this way.
UNDERSTANDING - knowing that tomato is a fruit.
WISDOM - knowing not to include it in your fruit salad.

vanilla said...

Ilene, Mom did a better job of getting through to you. I have no problem eating sweet corn with my taters. Sadly, the last batch of fresh-from-the stalk sweet corn came in Saturday. Dad's passion for bread was passed along to his eldest child. I don't know whether that was nurture or nature, but I still have a hard time getting through a meal without it. I still think of a "carb" as the thing that spritzes gas into the combustion chamber and cars don't even have those anymore.

Grace, I recall that little potato tidbit about you as you have mentioned it in one of your posts. Personally, I have not yet tired of eating. Perhaps you haven't either-- maybe it is more that you are tired of cooking? When I was a stripling, my father used to ask me "Do you eat to live, or do you live to eat?"
Chuck, which is why I included the link (vegetable) in the last paragraph providing the explanation that government trumps science.

Lin said...

After years of being an avid follower of Weight Watchers, I don't categorize potatoes as a vegetable, but a starch/carb.

I love veggies--the more the merrier. And my very favorite is broccoli--raw or cooked. I think I eat it every single day.

vanilla said...

Lin, yes, depending on one's generational identity the potato is a starch or a carb-- as are other veggies. But it is a vegetable. and now I am guessing that you and Kaiye's mama had similar training. Broccoli is okay.

Jono said...

Didn't Reagan declare ketchup to be the vegetable part of a balanced school lunch?

vanilla said...

Jono, good observation. Not actually Reagan, but proposal by the USDA in response to cuts under the Budget Reconciliation Acts of 1980 (under Carter) and 1981 (under Reagan). The suggestion was that we (I was a school administrator at the time) could count some condiments as vegetable. Pickle relish was specifically mentioned but catsup was not. However the firestorm that ensued has been referred to as the "catsup wars." Fun memories.

Vee said...

I would eliminate potatoes from my diet for a year if I could replace them with juicy, sweet Indiana tomatoes.
The round, tasteless things labeled "tomatoes" in our grocery store should be given a different name. Maybe they should be advertised as "reddish-green, rubbery, possibly edible, mock vegetable." I think it should be illegal to sell them as tomatoes. Even in Colorado the grocery stores stocked "Indiana Beefsteak" tomatoes for a couple of weeks each summer.

Hmmm. I must have returned home from Chicago in a grouchy mood.

vanilla said...

Vee, how I wish I could slice and serve you a nice ripe grown-in-Indiana-soil tomato just to improve your mood. I like your suggested advertisement but it is quite long. How about "Blechh!"

Vee said...

Vanilla, your suggestion is much better.

Ilene said...

Vee, What you said about Indiana tomatoes is so true, but try to tell New Jersey folks that. They pride themselves on being the garden state and take offense when I tell them that Indiana and Illinois produce is better. My favorite bests....Indiana/beefsteak tomatoes and sweet corn....Illinois/cantaloupe, grown in the sandy soil of the Illinois River country, and Southern Illinois peaches, the sweetest juiciest ever.

vanilla said...

Ilene, enjoy your memories and don't offend your neighbors.