2017-04-01 / Front Page

Students showcase sensational spuds

St. James School observes National Tater Tots Day
Executive Editor

BIDDEFORD — They can be chipped, boiled, baked, mashed, riced, roasted and scalloped, but to students observing National Tater Tots Day at St. James School in Biddeford on Friday, potatoes were certainly more than small fries.

It was the first time that the school marked the event and to celebrate all things potato, St. James students dined on a menu of nothing but spuds as part of "March Madness" and the season of meat-free Lent.

"We have done so many different things for the students during March because it's a long month without a break," said Nancy Naimey, St. James School principal. "Somebody suggested that March 31 was National Tater Tots Day and we thought we'd give it a try."

Students eating hot lunches in the school cafeteria on Friday were treated to a meal of baked potatoes fixed any way they wanted from a special Baked Potato Bar prepared by St. James Food Service Director Yvette Tremblay and her staff.

"This is not the generation of kids who eat a lot of mashed potatoes," Tremblay said. "Most of them prefer french fries, so even though it was National Tater Tots Day, we cooked 15 pounds of russet potatoes and asked the students to select what they wanted on them."

Tremblay said students could opt for baked potatoes topped with cheddar cheese, melted margarine, fresh broccoli, parmesan cheese or sour cream.

She started baking potatoes for the students about 9 a.m. and they popped out of the oven by the time the first wave of classes arrived for lunch in the cafeteria about 11:10 a.m. Friday.

In all, between 90 to 115 students at the school dined on baked potatoes during the event and many said that they were thrilled to try something different for a change.

Fourth-grader Camryn Houle, 9, chose a baked potato with butter and kale chips.

"Last year we had a lesson about all the potatoes that are grown in Maine," Houle said. "I like baked potatoes a lot and I'm really glad we were able to do this today because it's so much fun."

Another fourth-grader, Nick Curro, 10, said he enjoyed a baked potato topped with sour cream.

"I like potatoes because they're mushy and stuff," Curro said. "My favorites are sweet potatoes, but this was pretty good."

Curro said he prefers potatoes cooked in a variety of ways because they not only taste good, but they also are packed with nutrition and vitamins.

"They are really very good for you," he said. "I think you can say they are really spud-tacular." 

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 326, or editor@journaltribune.com.

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