Friday, April 17, 2015

Musings... I Don't Hate Eating Vegetables?

Getting me to eat my vegetables as a child was a pain. I was the stereotypical child who whined and covered his mouth at the sight of vegetables. These greens, which were supposedly magically good for me, felt like the ultimate chore to eat.

They were served during dinner on a daily basis but meant to be eaten alone after the main course -- a perverse form of dessert before dessert? Fruit was also usually served daily after the meal. The difference was that no issues were encountered with fruit most of the time. Sweet, juicy, and delicious. Why would there be a problem?

"There, finished dinner, but gotta make some vegetables too!"
Vegetables for most of my childhood were served as an afterthought. The majority of the time, they were simply boiled in water with a bit of canola oil and served directly. Maybe there was some salt and dressing up, but rarely any integration into the entire meal. I remember an unending rotation of broccoli, lettuce, cauliflower, beans, and spinach getting this treatment.

When they were integrated into complete dishes with sauce and meat, there were some quality issues -- I saw them as a garnish. And more importantly, the rule left a bad enough taste in my mouth so that I was biased against the exception. It became habitual for me to separate the vegetables from the rest of the dish when dining.

No Problem
As I grew up and was exposed to more and more dishes, it became apparent that I had no problem eating vegetables. In fact, some of my favorite foods nowadays are vegetarian. Take palak paneer, an Indian dish, for example. From my experience, it consists mainly of shredded spinach and blocks of cheese. The vegetable is a prime ingredient and can't be scraped off or separated -- well, maybe from the cheese. I also love well done salads that are grand mélanges of various uncooked vegetables, bathed in olive oil and dressing.

It looks like the trick to get me to eat vegetables is simply to give me something that tastes good. Except for a few pre-teen years, I have not been much of a picky eater. My standards for eating are very low, but I can still appreciate something finer. So, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I can in fact eat vegetables without complaint when they aren't served to me as an afterthought and forced on me like a chore.

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