Friday, October 26, 2007

Henry and the Christmas Squash

My kid has almost always loved (and eaten) his veggies. He's absolutely not a picky eater. However before any of you readers roll your eyes and in that "oh my GOD she's one of THOSE parents who probably will say that her kid is an angel and never tantrumed in public", let me make you feel better.

My husband is probably the pickiest eater on the planet.

Let's start with what he WILL eat:

pasta (but only with sauce-either tomato based with ground turkey in it or cream based, only a tiny bit of cheese)
bacon (only in BLTs-and never tomatoes any other way)
green beans
veggie burgers
toast (must be whole wheat) with honey (not the creamed kind)
peanut butter
oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
dark chocolate

That, my friends, is it. I have told you about how he has eaten a BLT in every state when we vacation and how Jake tucks into any local food with excitement while Hubs looks on in disdain. He won't even allow different foods be on his plate at the same time. I feel your pain, trust me. If it's not on that list above, he won't eat it.

So when this contest came up inspired by this book, I couldn't help but sneak in a post here. How do I get the veggies into the mouth of a very picky eater?

1. Let him drink the veggies: Hubs has developed a taste for V-8 juice. Yay! Drinking the veggies is better then nothing, I say.
2. What he doesn't know won't hurt him: I sneak veggies into all sorts of dishes without him noticing. The trick is to whiz them up really small in the food processor so you can't taste them or even find them amoung the tomato sauce in a pasta dish.
3. Dress 'em up: Plain steamed veggies get sorta boring. We roast the asparagus, put a little garlic butter on the broccoli, or honey mustard sauce on the cauliflower.
4. Make a variety: If we're having something Hubs won't eat, I make something he will. For example...
-coconut curried prawns and rice, salad (me and Jake)
-roasted chicken breast with peas (Hubs)
5. Last but not least, do what my friend did. She was at her wits end to get her little boy to eat veggies, so she did something that yeilded totally unexpected results:

She put a squash in her son's Christmas stocking. That morning she was in the kitchen getting Christmas dinner ready and in ran Henry, holding the squash in bewilderment.

"Look what Santa left me!" He held it out as if it were some rare treasure. "Maybe it's magic?"
My friend smiled at her son and took the squash from his little hands, holding it out as if it were made of gold. "Of course! A magic Christmas squash! How amazing!" her voice dropped to a whisper and she nodded to her wide eyed 5 year old. "We better make this for Christmas dinner, " she said. "and you MUST try some." As if in a trance, he nodded while he eyed the squash in wonder.

Henry scampered off to play and she cooked the squash along with the turkey and other fixings. That evening he ate the squash and declared it to be the best ever, because it was...of course...magic! It's what made the reindeer fly! The big man in red had brought it, after all. Do they have green houses up in the North Pole?

My friend told me that for years, she continued to put veggies in her son's stocking and every year he was so excited that he couldn't wait to try it at dinner that evening. Year after year the stocking veggies appeared, and every year the other children waited in anticipation of what magical item would be served with their dinner because they all wanted a taste.

Elizabeth never expected the whole idea to go very far, but even at the time she told me this story, she still stuffed a veggie in her grown son's stocking every year.

The year she told me this story?

He got a zucchini.

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