Pumpkin mac and cheese served at USC’s Farmers Market, gets mixed reactions

Jolly’s pumpkin mac and cheese. Photo from Student Health Services Twitter page.

There are many seasonal flavors associated with fall. Arguably, the most popular flavor is pumpkin. Whether it’s dishes like pumpkin pie, or drinks like the infamous pumpkin spice latte, there are a lot of different edible creations made in October using the seasonal gourd.

The University of South Carolina celebrated the love of pumpkin Tuesday at the Healthy Carolina Farmer’s Market with an “outside-the-box” kind of dish. USC’s Outreach Dietician Olivia Jolly created a pumpkin mac and cheese, handing out free samples to curious students and staff. Jolly said the creation prompted mixed reviews. “I think many people think I made a pumpkin spice mac and cheese, and that was not it at all,” she said. “It tasted very savory, sort of like mac and cheese with a hint of squash.”

According to Jolly, USC’s Student Health Services is currently in the midst of the #LoveYourPlate campaign, which focuses on encouraging students to make nutritious choices while still enjoying the foods they love. “This can sometimes mean adding a vegetable to one’s favorite comfort food,” she said. Jolly has been tackling foods that have a “bad” reputation in diet culture. “So I thought I would give macaroni and cheese a try. My goal was to include pumpkin to a traditional mac and cheese recipe, as pumpkin is high in Vitamin A and Vitamin C.,” she said.

Many people did have a positive reaction to trying her dish, according to Jolly. “They all seemed excited to try a new twist on a southern staple,” she said.

Wednesday evening, Jolly will be hosting a cooking class called “Flavors of Fall,” where students will get an opportunity to make the recipe themselves.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Columbia, Education, Richland County