A few months ago a notice went out at work from the up-aboves that some of the vending machine junk food would be replaced with healthy junk food and some of the Coke machines would be turned off entirely. Instead of two pop-tarts you could now buy one with fiber for the same price! Away went the Texas size honey buns, King size Hershey’s in came the 100 calorie cookie packs.
The change was based on feedback from us, the lower-downs. My suspicion is that while the rest of us were stuffing dollars into those machines, waiting for the metal bar to twist away from our double pack of Mrs. Field’s chocolate chip cookies so they could drop into our outstretched hands someone else was stuffing the suggestion box.
A few weeks later I walked into the break room and stopped mesmerized by the again glowing Coke machines. The vending machine guy was back sliding Cokes into their slots, “Did we fail?” I asked.
He paused for a moment to turn to me and say, “Yes, badly.”
A few days after a notice came out from the up-aboves that gave the results of our experiment. Badly was dead on. My office has two break rooms at opposite ends of the building. One break room went healthy and the other stayed the same. Apparently rather than force ourselves and our extra change to consume “healthy snacks” we all walked a few more feet to the other one.
Turns out at work, we don’t really want good for you. Hardly a revelation. I and my belly are aware that I’m much healthier when not working. I cook more, eat out less, never buy soda and rarely candy. I take the dog on long walks; go on bike rides, hiking. I once took the same orange to work every day for a week, but instead sought fattening, sweet, salty comfort food mid-way through every shift.
Food is a big part of working in an office. Some offices have cigarette breaks, drinking lunches, basketball hoops set up in the parking lot. My work has none of those. Food is a huge part of the day.
I identify two main problems in the eating healthy at work conundrum. One: its happy food. Two: the truly healthy — like the salads — don’t last well. Somehow even on the day they are delivered they have already achieved a slimy wilted stage.
I’m not entirely complaining. I do have a very greedy sweet tooth that demands cookies, Snickers bars and 3 Musketeers. Every once in a while I need a chip.
For my birthday, I was given a mandolin. Unwrapping it I had two thoughts. One: finally I can cut the ideal cucumber sandwich. Two: potato chips. Another illustration of the orange vs. cookie. Potato chips are first, paper-thin slices of cucumber will have to wait.
First I have an office potluck to cook for.
I told my co-workers about the potato chips and the first thing every single one of them said was, “Sweet Potatoes?”
Yes, sweet potatoes.
And, purple potatoes because they are so much fun to cook with.
The recipe is incredibly simple and amounts aren’t included because you should make however much you need. I tried baking them, but only succeeded in burning them. But, that may be due to multi-tasking. I don’t have a fryer and instead just used a cast iron skillet.
Potato Chips with Lime Salt
Combine and mush together lime zest and salt. Set aside.
With a mandolin slice sweet potatoes (or potatoes of choice) on the thinnest setting. Place in a bowl of ice water. Heat vegetable oil in skillet over medium high heat. Drain potato slices and dry well. Working in batches fry in skillet. Slices are done when they stop sizzling. Remove to paper and drain well. They started to get a little soggy, so I removed them to a separate pile of paper to drain more. Top with lime salt.