By Peggy Crum, MA, RD, Health4U Nutritionist


Mention rutabagas to most anyone from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and you’re likely to segue into a conversation about pasties (pronounced pass-tees), savory meat and vegetable pies (perhaps a prototype for Hot Pockets®?). Pasties originated in Cornwall County, England, and immigrated to the United States with mine workers.

Rutabagas are an up-north vegetable eaten heartily by northern Europeans. The name means “root bag” in Swedish. Some skip the multi-syllable name and simply call them swedes or neeps. Others go with a descriptive name such as yellow turnip or winter turnip. Rutabagas thrive in the cool temperatures of fall and winter developing their sweetest and richest flavors only after prolonged cold weather. Since they store well in the ground and then in the root cellar after harvest, they were a staple in northern climates. Long-distance shipping of less winter-hardy vegetables has nudged the rutabaga aside.

A cross between the cabbage and the turnip, the rutabaga is a large round root vegetable with edible leaves. Impressively larger than a turnip, a rutabaga can weigh upwards of a pound and measure six inches across. Its thick purple and yellow exterior is often coated with wax before shipping to extend shelf life. Peel away the wax and skin to reveal a lovely butter-yellow flesh. Rutabagas are slightly bitter, less so than turnips. Cooking brings out their sweet yet savory flavor. If you want to serve raw rutabaga, be advised to blanch the cut pieces in salt water followed by an ice water shock.

Rutabagas pair well with butter, cream and warm spices such as nutmeg and smoked paprika. Besides being a key ingredient for pasties, rutabagas are perfect for roasting; making into soups, stews and casseroles; and mashing with other root vegetables. Clapshot, for instance, is a traditional Scottish dish made by mashing rutabagas and potatoes, then seasoning with butter and chives. Yum!

Join Culinary Services Corporate Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski from 12:10 - 12:50 p.m. on Wednesday, October 8, at the Demonstration Kitchen in Brody Square as he demonstrates his beef pasties recipe during the Health4U Recipe for Health program. Try the pasties during lunch at Brody Square, Riverwalk Market at Owen Hall and The Gallery at Snyder/Phillips.

Can’t make it to Brody Square for the event? Join us online for an MSU Alumni Association LENS live stream presentation. Learn more by watching this trailer and view the live stream here:

Dining Hall Survival Skills from a Fellow Senior Spartan

By Anna Mooi, Culinary Services Dietetic Intern

When I came to MSU my freshman year, I remember being overwhelmed by all the unlimited meal options in the dining halls. I wanted to try EVERYTHING. I would go back for seconds or thirds and stuff myself to a level of discomfort. Also, my meal selections were all over the place ... I’d be eating meatloaf with sushi and quinoa. Talk about a hodgepodge of flavors! Now, as a senior, I have learned many tricks and secrets that have helped me establish healthy eating habits while enjoying everything the dining halls have to offer. Here are a few of my discoveries: 

  • There’s always another chance to try something. You don’t have to binge on everything all at once. The dining halls rotate their menus so you will have the opportunity to try that new dish or your favorite dish another time.
  • Be adventurous! Try new and different dishes, even if you’re picky. You never know, you may love it! With an unlimited meal plan, this is the time to branch out and take advantage of the top-quality and diverse dishes the dining halls offer.
  • Venture to new dining halls. Instead of going to the same hall day in and day out, mix it up by visiting a new one. Each hall offers different options and atmospheres.
  • Utilize the online menus. Go to to find what is being served in each dining hall. You can then decide where you want to go and plan out what you want to eat beforehand to help with portion control.
  • Build a cohesive, balanced meal with flavors and dishes that go well together. It will help keep your mind and body balanced with better overall nutrition.
  • I love to stay for a while and study in the dining halls. This has the potential for disaster if you aren’t smart. Eat your meal but then try sitting somewhere where you aren’t distracted by the food or you’ll want to keep getting up to eat again every five minutes.
  • Lastly, dessert. You know you’re going to want it so be sure to save some room.

These are just some of the dining hall survival tips I’ve learned through my time here at MSU. So, enjoy, but be smart and aware in the dining halls. You probably visit them more than once a day so make it an enjoyable, social and exploratory time as you take advantage of the great food and environments MSU has to offer.

Anna Mooi pull quote

Clean Plates at State Kicks Off September 24!

Are your eyes usually bigger than your stomach? Check your plate—if you tend to have food left on your plates when you bring your dishes to the dish return, perhaps it’s time to reassess what you take. The average Spartan wastes 4 oz. of food every meal. MSU serves more than 35,000 meals a day. That’s 8,750 pounds of uneaten food left on plates daily.

Clean Plates at State is a food waste program at MSU that helps put environmental sustainability into perspective for campus dining hall students and guests. The program seeks to reduce the amount of food waste on campus through education initiatives and a recurring food waste audit at each residential dining location.

The Clean Plates at State Food Waste Audits are scheduled for the following dates:

  • September 24: Holden Dining Hall, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., 5 - 7 p.m.
  • October 1: Hubbard Dining Hall, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., 5 - 7 p.m.
  • October 8: Holmes Dining Hall, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., 5 - 7 p.m.
  • October 15: The Gallery at Snyder/Phillips, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., 5 - 7 p.m.
  • October 22: Brody Square, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., 5 - 7 p.m.
  • October 29: The Vista at Shaw, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., 5 - 7 p.m.
  • November 5: South Pointe at Case, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., 5 - 7 p.m.
  • November 12: Heritage Commons at Landon, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., 5 - 7 p.m.
  • November 19: Wilson Dining Hall, 5 - 7 p.m., 9 - 11 p.m.

Culinary Services is looking for volunteers to help with its Clean Plates at State Food Waste Audits. Volunteers are asked to donate two hours of their time to help educate students, faculty and staff on the importance of not wasting food.

Volunteers will receive a free meal ticket for any residential dining hall, not including Riverwalk Market at Owen Hall. Anyone interested in volunteering should email Carla Iansiti at or Majel Maes at

To learn more about the Clean Plates at State food waste audits, visit

Sparty Clean Plates at State


Enter to Win the Snyder’s-Lance Sparty’s Selfie Contest!

Calling all MSU students, faculty and staff: Do you love Sparty's? How about Snyder’s-Lance products, including pretzels and chips? Then show us some love—photograph yourself at Sparty’s with your Snyder’s-Lance purchased products and submit it to win one of nine awesome product-filled coolers from Snyder’s Lance.

1: Take a photo of you with your Snyder’s-Lance product.

  Products include:

  • Snyder’s of Hanover products
  • Jay’s chips
  • Eat Smart snacks
  • Krunchers! chips
  • O-KE-DOKE popcorn
  • Cape Cod kettle cooked chips
  • Lance snacks
  • Archway cookies
  • Stella Doro snacks
  • Quito’s snacks
  • Pretzel Crisps
  • Pace salsa
  • Tom’s dips
  • Bass Pro Shop meats
  • Salerno butter cookies

2: Post it to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #SpartysSL (and #eatatstate) between September 12 and September 26, 2014.

 Photo of cooler filled with prizes. #SpartysSL

Contest Rules:

  • You must follow EatatState on Instagram and/or Twitter.
  • Only one photo per contestant.
  • Photos must include Snyder’s-Lance product.
  • Winners will be announced on the Eat at State Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts on October 3, 2014.
  • Contest is open to participants aged 18 and older.
  • Team members from Sparty’s are not allowed to participate in this contest.
  • In case of a dispute as to the identity of a contestant using the Internet, the authorized account holder of the username used to enter the promotion at the time of entry will be considered the contestant.
  • If there is more than one person in the submitted photo, the prize will be awarded to the submitter.
  • Eat at State is not responsible for any problems with your entry, including technical failures or incomplete, late or misdirected entries.
  • Acceptance of a prize constitutes the winner's consent to the use of his/her name, likeness and generated content by Eat at State for promotional or advertising purposes.
  • Eat at State reserves the right to disqualify any person tampering with the operation of the promotion or otherwise violating these rules.
  • Prizes listed may be substituted for other prizes of equal value, based on availability.
  • The contestant, by entering this contest, acknowledges the following three points: (1) Instagram and Twitter are released from all claims held by the contestant; (2) This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by or associated with Instagram or Twitter; and (3) The contestant is providing information to Eat at State and not to Instagram or Twitter.


By Peggy Crum, RD, Health4U Nutritionist

In the world of fruit, pears seem to be second-bananas. Not to upset the apple cart, but why is there not a single pear saying, such as “an apple a day…” or “apple of my eye”?

Truthfully, pears are complicated. For instance, you would think that all pears are pear-shaped but, in fact, those classified as Asian pears are round (yes, like an apple). Asian pears have other similarities to apples: they are crisp, sweet and ready-to-eat right from the tree. Asian pears can be stored for a week or two at a cool temperature.

European pears, the ones with the traditional pear shape, are temperamental about ripening. If you went pear-picking and bit into one, you would be sorely disappointed. European pears must be picked before they’re ripe (in August and September), stored at a cool temperature (for weeks or months) and then held at room temperature (on your countertop) to finish ripening.

At the market, choose firm pears without blemishes and bruises. Store them at room temperature and check daily to see if they are ripe. Placing them in a paper bag speeds the process. The best sign of ripeness is to test the area around the stem of the pear. Press gently on the neck of the pear; if it yields to gentle pressure, it’s ready to use.

Since they store well, European pears are available from September through spring or summer of the following year. Choose Anjou as a citrusy-sweet and juicy all-purpose pear; Bartlett for its creamy, juicy, sweet flesh, musky aroma and traditional pear flavor; Bosc for its elegant shape and firm, honey-flavored flesh, perfect for cooking; and Comice for its red blush of color and mellow sweet flavor, just right for eating out-of-hand.

Try this month’s recipe for wine-poached pears, Chef Kurt’s version of the classic French dessert. Or pair a pear with a strong-flavored cheese. Either way, you’ll forget about apples.

Join Culinary Services Corporate Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski from 12:10 - 12:50 p.m. on Wednesday, September 10, at the Demonstration Kitchen in Brody Square as he demonstrates his red wine-poached pears recipe during the Health4U Recipe for Health program. Try the pears during lunch at Brody Square, Riverwalk Market at Owen Hall and The Gallery at Snyder/Phillips.

Can’t make it to Brody Square for the event? Join us online for an MSU Alumni Association LENS live stream presentation. Learn more by watching this trailer and view the live stream here: