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Eat Your Vegetables
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Deste



Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Posts: 307
Location: Far, far away

PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 11:54 pm    Post subject: Eat Your Vegetables Reply with quote

Vegetables are duty. Guys don't like them, unless they're cardiologists..or chefs. Women make you eat them.

This is a call to those of you who love greens, yellow squash, orange beets, white eggplants and purple beans.

What's your story?

Were you always this way?

Was there a moment of conversion? One thing, meal, person, cookbook or experience that made you change your mind?

(Yes, strawberries are vegetables. Beans and tomatoes are fruit. However, this topic is about the produce we usually eat before we eat dessert.)
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jenjen



Joined: 06 Nov 2004
Posts: 268
Location: Melbourne Australia

PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2005 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deste,

I have always adored my vegies! I get weak at the knees thinking about young green asparagus stalks - jerusalem artichokes thoroughly excite me, you were talking about greens.... so I won't start enthusing about my favourite mushrooms, but did I mention young sweetcorn, so delicious eaten straight off the cob, or even young peas fresh from their pods,I adore zucchini flowers too!

Deste, to be honest I cannot think of a vegetable that I really don't like! My husband is a vegie person too. Cool
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Mathilde Puppy



Joined: 24 May 2005
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2005 3:49 pm    Post subject: Eat Your Vegetables Reply with quote

Hi Deste,

Do you really mean you find eating vegetables a duty? I adore vegetables hugely and certainly am mostly vegetarian- i think i eat meat maybe once or twice a month- not from conscious choice, it just works out that way. Vegetables are so versatile, and scrumptiously delicious. (except for eggplant and okra- my own personal bugbears.)

Mmmmm...... now i am drooling thinking of my favourite dishes. I just love fresh white asparagus, lightly steamed with real butter and salt. (You can warp the spears in fresh good-quality ham also and that it just a gorgeous pairing).In a frittata is also good. And mushrooms- oh wow, pan-fried in butter and then used as a topping on toast, My favourite 'can't be bthered to cook' food.

Avocados- okay, they are a fruit, but what can really be better than avocado with salt and lemon juice on crackers.

I find meat to be quite boring, unless they are cooked in a slow-cooked casserole or similar. My favourite dish right now is a cannellini bean casserole, which is basically just beans, any vegetable i feel like throwing in at the time, tomato pasta sauce and lots of red wine and herbs, then slow-cooked for a couple of hours. It becomes very rich and tasty.

Was there a moment of conversion you ask? No, not really. We always had meat and vegetables for dinner when i was growing up. We never ate desserts, and I just don't have any taste for them at all. I genuinely do not like chocolate, sugar or ice cream. But i can eat mashed potatoes and cauliflower au gratin all day every day if required! But, tastes certainly change over time. i could never eat avocados, pumpkin or mushrooms as a teenager, but they are among my favourites now. Strange really!

Now I am hungry, and dinner is not for hours!

:)
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Deste



Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Posts: 307
Location: Far, far away

PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2005 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

M.P.: In response to your first question, no, to the contrary!

The reference to vegetables as duty offers an interpretation of a rather stern, common phrase: "eat your vegetables".

People are told to eat their vegetables because vegetables are good for them. I can't think of anyone who has had to tell his daughter to finish her dessert or she won't get her broccoli tomorrow.

I am just curious. I am trying to figure out what makes the kind of person who joins this kind of forum an enthusiastic consumer of vegetables while so many others simply do not like to buy, cook or eat them.

Second, when my friend Olga goes off on a short business trip, she comes home to find that her husband and two young sons haven't touched anything in the vegetable bin.

I know lots of men who love chard and okra. However, here in the U.S. one cultural stereotype concerns diet and gender. McDonalds tries to sell salads to women and new meat sandwiches to men. I wonder about this, too.
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jenjen



Joined: 06 Nov 2004
Posts: 268
Location: Melbourne Australia

PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2005 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe the thing that sets us apart is our food education! Look at the Jamie Oliver programmes which have changed the luncheon menus for disadvantaged children in Britain - the children didn't even know the names of the vegetables, and never ate them, so slowly Oliver turned that around with education and awareness.

I would expect that people who join these groups have had a rounded food education - I don't expect that many of us would even go to McDonalds! I know we don't - the last time was for a coffee while waiting for cargo at the airport nearly 4 years ago!

In my childhood home we grew some vegetables and had fruit trees, and my family provided me and my siblings with an excellent food education and wine appreciation. Cool
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varnadore



Joined: 19 Mar 2005
Posts: 26
Location: Renton, WA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 1:13 am    Post subject: Purslane Reply with quote

I have always loved my vegetables. I've actually always loved almost any food put in front of me! My husband and I can't figure how the two of us produced two such picky eaters! We can only hope they see the light.

I just bought a bunch of purslane at the produce stand. Does anyone have great ideas for it. I was just going to steam it and serve with butter but since we're talking about vegis......
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Mathilde Puppy



Joined: 24 May 2005
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 7:30 am    Post subject: Eat your vegetables Reply with quote

Hi Deste, sorry for misunderstanding you!
You raise some really interesting points, about people acting as if veggies are a duty (and a very interesting one indeed about Mc D's marketing methods.) I do not yet have children, but i always thought that if - like in my family- the parents showed such a huge appreciation of vegetables and their variety, that this would pass down. Naturally, this is not always the case!

I guess the image of vegetables as a duty (certainly where i am from) came from unimaginative ways to prepare them. Boiled soggy vegetables next to a lamb chop or sausage for example. Who would want to eat vegetables like these? Not me that is for sure. I love reading old recipes from rural France, Greece and Italy..... meat then was a luxury, and the most divine vegetable dishes were prepared.

MP
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brighidsdaughter



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 233
Location: Canton, TX USA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have always loved veggies of all kinds. So much variety & so many ways to prepare. Like Clotilde, I'm more comfortable cooking them than meat. This is partly due to my mother not liking meat & not knowing how to cook it, so most of my childhood meals were vegetarian. I never remember being admonished to eat my veggies, I just ate them like everyone else at the table.

The produce section of the supermarket is like a den of temptation for me and I'm prone to buying more than I can consume before they spoil. I bought 5 bulbs of fresh fennel Saturday because they were $1 each, marked down from the usual $3. Today I can have fun trying recipes!

All the riot of color and texture in veggies feeds not only my body, but my artistic spirit as well.
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Feste



Joined: 03 Apr 2005
Posts: 32
Location: Berkeley, CA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 7:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Eat your vegetables Reply with quote

Mathilde Puppy wrote:

I guess the image of vegetables as a duty (certainly where i am from) came from unimaginative ways to prepare them. Boiled soggy vegetables next to a lamb chop or sausage for example. Who would want to eat vegetables like these? Not me that is for sure.


Mathilde, I completely agree! I love veggies but I haven't always.

Growing up, my mom would put some vegetables in a bowl, cover them and cook them in the microwave for probably ten minutes, after which time they would sit in there for twenty minutes or so while she finished putting everything together. Since they would by this time have gotten cold, she then would "zap" them for another couple of minutes just before serving. Oh lord, I cannot tell you what asparagus looks like after this treatment.

After I tasted some well-prepared veggies in a restaurant, and I realized how lovely they could be, I began to cook them myself and my love for cooking took off.

(I have to add that my mom did the best she could raising two girls by herself. But seriously, she must have something wrong with her palate.)

And Varnadore: I like purslane in a warm salad, but it's also lovely in soup. I invariably overcook it though, so I keep trying.
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Deste



Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Posts: 307
Location: Far, far away

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jenjen: Thanks so much for your comments about Jamie Oliver's programs for children! I had forgotten that he trains youth to cook (and eat) and did not realize the extent of his work. I would like to know more.

Here, in the U.S. Alice Waters and her Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley is moving from a civic to national movement. Ann Cooper is another chef (I think) who is making a similar contribution on the east coast. There are a number of places where chefs and farmers are uniting to influence young minds, whether children or college students. The New York Times did an article about this a couple of weeks ago. While many efforts are modeled on philanthropy, not all are. For example, g-d I am bad with names!, a chef in a very elite private school in Manhattan slowly but surely transformed the palates of those he served and got to their parents once they began clamoring for dishes like curried cauliflower soup.
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And in Australia our own National Treasure, Stephanie Alexander is doing similar fantastic work with kids, starting them off by growing edible plants in a kitchen garden, and taking them right through the process to teaching them to cook those same edible plants.

"Over the last few years I have found myself thinking more and more about the ways in which children learn about food. For many children there is no way they can relate the food they see in bottles, packets and jars with soil, sunshine, ripeness and satisfying activity. As young adults, many are tentative in their efforts to feed themselves, and are unable to offer themselves one of life’s most accessible joys—sharing delicious food with family and friends every day."

I remember when my son was about 3 and in part-time child care, he came home one day and told me he had eaten Curried Parsnip Soun with Cornbread for lunch. Wow! And yet if I had even thought about serving something similar at home he would have turned his nose up at it. That's the power of peer pressure .... and hunger.... I guess!
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jenjen



Joined: 06 Nov 2004
Posts: 268
Location: Melbourne Australia

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 9:13 am    Post subject: Vegies Reply with quote

Hi Deste, try www.jamieoliver.com

He has really created a revolution in children's school lunches in the UK> and I believe his influence has also reached the children's tuck shops here.

Prior to his amazing endeavours some children were vomitting faeces as their diets were so poor....

Coming from a professional background in Australia, I was astounded to see how life was for these less fortunate people in Britain Rolling Eyes
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VictoriaLH



Joined: 17 May 2005
Posts: 87
Location: Madison WI

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I became a vegetarian, people's reactions were mainly "well what CAN you eat?" Once you take meat off the plate as a main, and often very boring course, so many vegetable dishes opened up before me. So many ethnic cuisines, so many ways to vary a basic meat dish with something else, its really an epiphany! I love vegetables and all of their variety, freshness, colors, textures. Some people mentioned white asparagus, what I love to do is to grill them sprinkled with some olive oil, then top with a garlic aioli.

My best friiend is raising her 2 year old mostly vegetarian and she eats all manner of ethnic meals, and since there is no peer pressure and her choices are what Mom puts on her plate, I have seen her eat curries, Thai food, sushi, tapas, you name it!
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kohuether



Joined: 07 Sep 2005
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to crave tomatoes, spinach, and articles as a kid. I never ate meat. My parents took me to the doctor because they thought my eating habits were odd. The doctor thought they were being silly and told them to serve me peanut butter.

I love veggies! Fruit is often too sweet.
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Deste



Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Posts: 307
Location: Far, far away

PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 5:48 pm    Post subject: Kohuether's reply Reply with quote

It's interesting how everyone posting here seems to have loved vegetables since childhood....even when parents viewed their child's cravings for spinach and artichokes [?] as strange. However, I would assume that those very same parents at least introduced you to something as interesting as an artichoke.

I don't think I saw one until college, and then just the hearts found oil-packed, imported, and in jars, tossed in a simple green salad by my French professor who invited those bound for study in Paris to dinner. (That salad was a revelation.) It took a third-generation Italian American to teach me to cook and serve fresh artichokes the following year.

In fact, in my part of New England, it was the small produce store in Italian-American neighborhoods that made up for the rather limited range of fresh vegetables you could find in supermarkets back in the sixties and seventies: carrots, celery, cabbage, potatoes and onions. Lettuce was iceberg. Romaine was exotic. Tomatoes came in green plastic trays, wrapped in cellophane, no better in August than in February...except when you drove out of the city. past roadside farm stands on Sundays on the way to your grandmother's house.

At least my family did not bake canned sweet potatoes [Gourmet Magazine used the word "tinned" until the mid-80s to gloss over the crassness of canned goods] on Thanksgiving, but silver cans of Le Seur baby peas were a delicacy. Spinach, my one green love, came in frozen blocks and green beans in icy French-cut strips. I remember standing in the corridors of my high school swearing to Jo Ann that there was no difference between fresh and frozen vegetables. That was around 1972, the year Anna Thomas published "The Vegetarian Epicure."

Six years later, my long haired friends and I put on our best Indian gauze clothes and feasted on eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms.
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