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Friends, Food and Fun in the Kitchen

Kids eating salads, yes, believe it

By Lisa Abraham Published: October 9, 2013

I am always surprised when I hear folks complain that their kids don't eat vegetables.

I can never remember a meal when I was a child when there wasn't at least a salad and one vegetable on the table. My brother and sister and I all dutifully ate vegetables as a matter of course without question. My mother, clearly, was a miracle worker.

Now the system wasn't perfect. There was , my older sister, whose distaste for cooked carrots was legendary. She'd eat the raw ones without question, but cook them and watch her turn her nose up.

Don't ever discount Karma.

Said sister now has a 6-year-old who will eat her weight in corn on the cob, but refuse to touch the kernels off the cob. "I told you, I don't like corn this way," she informed her mother at one recent dinner. I suspect she is missing copious amounts of butter and salt, but I digress...

I don't have kids, so if I voice my opinion too loudly, I risk eye-rolling and tsk-tsking from parents, who will be happy to point out I have no idea what I'm talking about.

But since this is my blog... I get to spout off about things whether I know something about them or not so.....

It seems to me that kids who don't like vegetables are either the product of parents who don't like vegetables, parents who haven't fed them vegetables young enough for them to not recall a time when they didn't eat them, or perhaps, have been cautioned by their parents, to the point of having the dislike seed planted in their minds.

"Now Billy, this is spinach, you may not like spinach, but Mommy wants you to try it." Well, with a ringing endorsement like that, I'd probably reject it too.

I know, it's not that simple. So all of you parents out there, stop rolling your eyes at me, it's rude.

And I do have some proof for my theory, thanks to a cooking demonstration I conducted this week at the Lake Anna YMCA in Barberton.

First off, the Lake Anna Y has its own garden, so "Yeah!" for them.

They invited me to come out and cook with some veggies from their garden, so I made a couple of salads Tuesday night in the lobby of the Y.

One had no lettuce, but plenty of chopped veggies, along with chickpeas, olive and feta cheese.

One man walked by, I offered a sample, he grimmaced and said "Ooo, veggies, no way." His son looked at the plate, and made the exact same face as the dad.

Another young girl saw me slicing apples and patiently waited to try the salad I was using them in. Her mother looked on, noticing the blue cheese and dried cranberries I was tossing in, and noting how the child may not like those.

I passed her a plate of salad and a fork nonetheless and she downed the entire plate.

Then there was the family of four who were on their way out the door. I offered a sample and the son asked if he could have one. No, the parents said, he wouldn't eat that.

I told them to let him give it a try and handed him a plate.

Then his little sister wanted some too.

Then they both came back for seconds.

"Do you eat salad at home?" I asked the boy.

"No," he said, "My mom's isn't this good."

Well, who can argue with a genius child who obviously recognizes culinary greatness when he eats it.

Luckily for him, I gave his mother my recipe.

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