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US schools plan to phase out potatoes - deems it a less healthy vegetable

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From now on school cafeteria workers will be putting fewer potatoes on kids’ plates as per the US Agriculture Department and federal guidelines.

The spud is getting the cuts as the government plans to have more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in the kids meals and less sodium, fats, and starches.

The US Agriculture Department is currently formulating a proposal, according to Georgia Public Broadcasting, that will take effect next summer.  The plan is to banish potatoes from school breakfasts and reduce them greatly in school lunches.

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Spokesman for coastal Glynn County schools, Jim Weidhass said that although the proposal isn’t final, potatoes are now only being served once a week.

He said, “We're just looking to phase them out and replace them with things like whole grain macaroni and cheese, knowing this will be the type of stuff that comes down from the federal guidelines. You have to try to put something that kids actually will eat on the table."

Of course, potato lobbyist and potato-state Senators are fighting. Critics are saying that the spud is being targeted unfairly.

In defiance of these restrictions on the much loved spud here’s two of our favorite Irish potato recipes – Colcannon and Boxty.

Colcannon Recipe

Ingredients:

4 lbs (1.8kg) potatoes, or about 7-8 large potatoes (‘old’ potatoes or russet potatoes are best, waxy potatoes won’t do)
1 green cabbage or Kale
1 cup ( 7 fl oz, 240 ml) milk (or cream)
1 stick (4oz, 120g) butter, divided into three parts
4-5 scallions (green onions), chopped
Salt and Pepper
Fresh Parsley or chives
*Not everyone adds scallions to colcannon, but they do add something worth having in my opinion.

Method:

Peel and boil the potatoes. Remove the core from the cabbage, slice it thinly, and put into a large saucepan.

Cover with boiling water from the kettle and keep at a slow rolling boil until the cabbage is just wilted and has turned a darker green. This can take anything from 3-5 minutes depending on the cabbage. Test it and don’t let it overcook, if anything it should be slightly undercooked.

When the cabbage is cooked, drain it well, squeeze to get any excess moisture out, then return to the saucepan. Add one third of the butter and cover. Leave it covered and in a warm place, but not on a burner, with the butter melting gently into it while you continue.

When the potatoes are soft, drain and return the saucepan with the drained potatoes in, to a low burner, leaving the lid off so that any excess moisture can evaporate. When they are perfectly dry, add the milk to the saucepan along with a third of the butter and the chopped scallions if you are using them.

Allow the milk to warm but not boil – it is about right when the butter has fully melted into it and it’s starting to steam.

With a potato masher or a fork, mash the potatoes thoroughly into the butter/milk mixture. Do NOT pass through a ricer or, worse, beat in a mixer as it will make the potatoes gluey and disgusting.

Mix the cabbage thoroughly through the mashed potato.

Before serving, season with a little salt and sprinkle with fresh parsley or chives. Most importantly, make a well in the centre of the mound of potato and put the last third of the butter in there to melt.

Potato Cake or Boxty

Ingredients:

1 cup raw, grated potatoes
1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup (about) milk to mix
Butter or oil for frying
Sugar (optional)

Method:

Place the grated raw potatoes in a clean cloth and twist to remove excess moisture.

Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. Combine flour mixture into raw potatoes, mashed potatoes, and eggs. Add enough mix to make a batter.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat and add butter or oil. Drop potato batter by the tablespoon into the hot pan. Brown on both sides (about 4 minutes per side).

Butter each boxty and serve hot with or without sugar.
 

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