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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Kids and Vegetables

People give kids boiled carrots or green beans and when kids refuse to eat them (and who wouldn’t?) declare that “kids don’t like vegetables.” 

Every day I hear at daycare that Klara “wouldn’t eat her vegetables.” And then we come home and she devours my lentil soup with zucchini, carrots, and beet greens. Or my Israeli couscous with spinach, pâtissons, and tomatoes. Because they are real food and not some boiled out, bland stuff that tastes like paper.

P.S. I find it very weird that people would serve green beans right in the pods. I have no idea how to eat something like this. And especially how to get kids to eat them except for cutting them all up in tiny bits and mixing with something else.

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15 thoughts on “Kids and Vegetables

  1. Anon on said:

    That’s one of my pet peeves too! My sister in law is exactly like this; she complains that her kids don’t eat boiled carrots and peas and she then proceeds to give them chicken nuggets and hot dogs which are the unhealthiest things imaginable!!

    I am somewhat like you — I have always given my daughter a taste of what we eat at home, and as a result, she loves all kinds of salads and stir-fried vegetables. She is quite a gourmet toddler by now — she doesn’t eat chicken nuggets, but will happily ask for and eat food that’s considered “grown-up food” in the US — kebabs, curries, and pilafs — much to the surprise of many grownups.

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    • Yes, Klara stunned my colleagues at the departmental dinner that we had at the Indian restaurant because she was enjoying Indian food. And why not? It’s good food.

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    • Shakti on said:

      My sister in law is exactly like this; she complains that her kids don’t eat boiled carrots and peas and she then proceeds to give them chicken nuggets and hot dogs which are the unhealthiest things imaginable!!

      Does she eat that way herself or is this something she reserves as “kid food?”

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      • “Does she eat that way herself or is this something she reserves as “kid food?””

        • I always found the division into adult food and kid food to be weird. Especially in restaurant menus. It’s a great idea to serve small portions to kids but why do the offerings on the kid menu have to be so uniformly disgusting?

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        • Shakti on said:

          You could say they’re responding to the market of adults who feed their children awful food so the kids will only eat that since that’s all they know.

          All I know is if I ate boiled peas and carrots by themselves with nothing else, it would be because I had given up on life and leaving the house. If I had actual unfrozen peas and unfrozen carrots to eat, I would make something, anything, because there is simply no way I’d shell a bunch of peas or shave and cut a bunch of carrots and then call it a meal with boiling. Frozen peas and carrots I use in rice dishes or ramen and it’s never just by itself.

          It’s very curious but many restaurants reserve all their culinary skill for the meat and nothing else.

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      • Anon on said:

        Of course not, she eats normal healthy food herself. But it boggles my mind why she serves this kind of awful, unhealthy food to her children.

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  2. I have always loved green beans in the pods, since my earliest childhood. They are better when they are young and the beans are not fully developed in the shell. They are also the first food that I sprinkled black pepper on.

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  3. anon on said:

    Fresh green beans in the pod are delicious! They’re so nice a crunchy – like eating a carrot stick or celery, but less boring.

    But agreed. So many people have zero idea on how to prepare vegetables, and boiled/steamed is the worst – it can be done well, but the timing has to be perfect so they don’t turn to mush, and then they still need some additional seasoning. As a vegetarian (well, pescatarian, but usually I’m too lazy to explain the difference) I get adults who tell me all the time that they think vegetables are far too bland to understand being a vegetarian. And then I prepare a side dish or salad, and they’re super surprised at how tasty everything is… Perhaps it’s because I don’t just steam things and I use vegetables other than iceberg lettuce/beefsteak tomatoes/carrots/broccoli. eyeroll Anyway, I apparently needed to get that out of my system, sorry. I think there is also this perception among American parents that kids can only handle the simplest/blandest of flavors which is another thing contributing to bland vegetable mush for kids.

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    • “Fresh green beans in the pod are delicious! They’re so nice a crunchy – like eating a carrot stick or celery, but less boring.”

      • I think it’s cultural. I’d never seen anybody eat anything like this until adulthood, and it simply doesn’t track.

      “And then I prepare a side dish or salad, and they’re super surprised at how tasty everything is… Perhaps it’s because I don’t just steam things and I use vegetables other than iceberg lettuce/beefsteak tomatoes/carrots/broccoli. eyeroll Anyway, I apparently needed to get that out of my system, sorry.”

      • I feel the same. I recently became a pescatarian, too, and my vegan dishes are delicious because I use a variety of things and develop flavors by using herbs and spices. But of course, if I had to eat nothing but salads and boiled mush, I wouldn’t be able to stick with it. It’s just too boring!

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  4. Nelson on said:

    New Yorker cartoon from the 1920s (caption written by E.B. White):

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  5. Green beans are excellent roasted in the oven with good olive oil and salt. It softens them up and really tastes great, especially fine green beans (haricots verts). I hate them any other way but roasted I can eat a pound.

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  6. Stringer Bell on said:

    “Frozen peas and carrots I use in rice dishes or ramen and it’s never just by itself.”

    Yup. This is rice that I make when I have no time to cook, and have nothing in the house.

    On a side note, I do have sympathy for parents. I grew up in a household where we ate fresh meals 3 times a day. I love to cook, but my usual method is to make multiple one-pot meals at a time and have that last for a few days. And have that with a freshly-made salad or something. If I have a kid, I’ll feel bad for not making fresh food for her all the time. It’s just something I grew up with that I think of as essential parenting, but it doesn’t mesh with how I cook and manage my kitchen at all.

    I’d love to see a ‘food-diary’ post by Clarissa, where everyone posts their typical meals for a week.

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    • I have a post scheduled for this evening actually with what I ate today as part of my new diet.

      I do cook almost every day 2 or 3 times a day but only because it’s my hobby. I feel deprived if I don’t. The analyst explained that people who are very brainy use cooking as a compensatory mechanism to engage the other side of their brain. I even have long complex fantasies about how I’m going to cook. 😄

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  7. I lurve southern style slow cooked green beans but a sizeable chunk of pork fat in the pot (and some sugar added to draw out the salty goodness) is probably not compatible with your diet.

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