The abundance of fresh summer produce inspires many cooks ... but just looking at such teeming stands of baby lettuces, striped beets and shiny eggplants can be like rubbing salt in a wound for parents. Vegetables painful? If your child runs in the other direction at the mere sight of vegetables, you know what I mean. The good news is there are some steps you can take to help your child conquer this aversion.
1. Take the kids to the market with you, and ask them to pick out the vegetables in one of each of the following categories:
- Root (carrots, radishes, turnips, beets etc.)
- Stem (celery, asparagus, chard, watercress, rhubarb etc.)
- Leaves (lettuce, spinach, mustard greens, collards)
- Flower (broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini flowers)
- Fruit (tomato, bell peppers, eggplant, zucchini etc.)
- Seed (beans, peas, lentils, sprouts)
2. Take the foods home and arrange them in order as above, to illustrate the life cycle of a seed and discuss. For example, a seed is planted, grows roots (some of which you eat like a carrot), grows a stem (some of which you eat like rhubarb) and so forth.
3. Now cut a few pieces of each sample. Ask the kids to explore them with their four senses: sight, touch, smell and taste.
4. Have them rate their preferences in descending order.
5. Now have them select their top two favorites to prepare in one of the following very simple preparations:
- Ravioli filling