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(MCT)—More potassium per serving than a banana. A good source of vitamin C. And because they spend their life under the soil, potatoes also provide various minerals such as calcium, iron and zinc. And yet these tubers are often viewed with distain in the nutrition world.

In their natural state, potatoes contain no fat, no cholesterol and a minuscule amount of sodium. They provide necessary carbohydrates (including fiber) to fuel the brain and muscles.

But oh, how we mistreat these simple spuds. We peel ’em and fry ’em in fat and cover them with salt. And then we totally reject them—forgetting their original goodness.

In the spirit of fun, let us enjoy this “potato” story, which recently appeared in “Capsules”—the newsletter of The Auxiliary at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. Warning: I have added a bit of creative license to the original story.

Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head had eyes for each other and were married in 1953. They soon sprouted a sweet little potato named Yam. Yam was quite a dish and was loved by many.

Of course they wanted the best for Yam. And after her early years underground, they dug out the facts of life with her. They warned her if she went out half-baked and got smashed, she might be labeled a hot potato and end up with a bunch of tater tots.

Yam told them not to worry; that no spud would get her into the sack and make her a rotten potato! But on the other hand, she did not want to stay home and become a couch potato.

Yam wanted to look like a shoestring potato so she decided to part company with her friends, Au Gratin and Hash Brown. Then she mashed into a skin-tight outfit and went off to Europe. Mr. and Mrs. Potato told her not to get too boiled with the potatoes from Ireland. And they warned her about the enticing French fries. Yam soon learned that many of the spuds she met were twice-baked so she returned to the West.

Yam got roasted in the sunny climate until she looked like a red potato but she did not get dehydrated. And Mr. and Mrs. Potato warned her not to get skinned and scalloped when she traveled through Indian territory.

Finally Yam was done. Mr. and Mrs. Potato wanted her to stay on the straight and narrow so she could meet a high class Yukon Gold. So they sent her to Potato University in Idaho and hoped that she would soon be in the chips.

This did not a-peel to Yam, however.

One day she came home and announced she was going to marry a high-starched newscaster. This news made Mr. and Mrs. Potato boil. They told Yam she could not butter them up and that they would not allow this marriage.

Yam cried her eyes out and asked, “Why?”

“Because,” they said, “… he is just a common tater!”

Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Community Hospital of the Monterey (Calif.)

©2012 The Monterey County Herald
Distributed by MCT Information Services