Opinion: Underappreciated foods

Shawn Mercer

Shawn Mercer

Shawn Mercer is a sophomore integrated life sciences major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.Contact Shawn Mercer at [email protected].

There are dozens of delicious foods that are passed up for one reason or another. They may be foreign to one’s palate or take a little time to prepare, but nonetheless they deserve a second look. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Sweet potatoes, aka the yam. Brush one of these with a little oil, poke a few times with a knife and cook at 400 F for 45 minutes or so, and you will have a delicious and sweet root vegetable to take care of with a little butter and brown sugar.
  • Pickled beet eggs, aka that purple egg you did not know what to think of. These eggs are ready to eat out of the jar or from the deli. They have a firmer texture than normal boiled eggs, and a tangy flavor that beats the blandness of their non-pickled counterparts.
  • Sardines, aka fish in a can. Although these little guys can be daunting to eat, the best way to enjoy them is to eat them whole, bones and all. This will probably impress your friends and will give you a dose of quality protein and omega-3.
  • Cheese off the block, aka not string cheese. Although string cheese offers a ready-to-go packaged food, it cannot compete with the variety of cheeses that you can only get in block form. There are soft cheeses, hard cheeses, runny cheeses, funky cheeses, nutty cheeses and creamy cheeses, but if you are sticking to string cheese, your options are limited to white and yellow cheeses.
  • Organs, aka the other stuff. We often forget that an animal is not solely chunks of muscle roaming around, but a whole animal with a wide variety of edible bits. Whether it is liver, heart, kidneys or sweetbreads (aka the thymus), organs offer interesting textures and flavors that are worth exploring.
  • Soups and stews, aka watered-down leftovers. Anything that is hanging out in your fridge can probably be transformed into a soup or stew. This is a case of trial and error, but if you were going to throw the food out anyway, this is a great way to save the world, if you are into that kind of thing.
  • Beans cooked in a slow cooker, aka what the slow cooker was meant for. The slow cooker was originally designed to cook beans low and slow so that they would be tender and creamy when it came time to eat them. Now it’s used for anything from dips to desserts, but this device is still great at cooking beans, so grab a bag of pintos and get to work.

Finally, the most underappreciated food is anything eaten with friends, aka a good time. It is really up to you your friends as to what you all will partake in. Anything from a pizza to a fondue will do, as long as it is with good company.