In Japan, we hardly do any baking - kitchens are not set up for it, and traditional cooking hardly ever needs it. Baking sweet potatoes in the hot ashes of a fire made with rice husks, in autumn, after the rice harvest, is about the closest thing we get to it. Instead, there is always soup with a meal, and there is great variety in the soups. The most healthy kinds are made with just herbs and mushrooms and seaweed for flavouring, and very little salt. Here is a New Year zoni soup cooked with small taro corms, carrot, mushroom, and chicken, then garnished with a fresh herb and tasty uzu (a kind of citrus) peel. Taro is a great crop for home gardens and community gardens. It is common all around us, here in Kyoto. In Auckland, Pacific Islanders mainly grow it as a leaf crop, but the Japanese varieties grow quite well in New Zealand. And for Pete W. - I first started looking at taro in islands of the Hauraki Gulf. It grows well on Waiheke, Little Barrier, Great Barrier, and out along the Coromandel Peninsula.