Eating the Broccoli

eating your vegetablesI love broccoli and fresh green beans. I love cauliflower and Brussel sprouts, artichokes and corn, asparagus and spinach. Especially spinach.

But I didn’t always. Remember when you were a kid, and your parents made you eat those obnoxious green stringy horrid disgusting things called “vegetables”?

Why did we hate them so much? I remember plopping my peas into my glass of milk (whole milk, back in the day before the choices of non-fat or low fat) in order to hide them. Drip. Drop. Drip. One pea at a time. Thinking I’d get away with it. But my parents also made me finish my glass of milk every night. And surprise! A half dozen round peas lay in the bottom of my glass like tiny drowned smarmy green mice. My tears and histrionics drowned out the parental order: eat those mice or ‘NO DESSERT!’

broccoli, unhappy girl eating her vegetables

When did I learn to appreciate the finer aspects of the green goodies that help us stay lean and mean like a well-oiled machine (wasn’t there an ad somewhere, sometime, like this for say, asparagus? If not, should have been.)

I can’t remember eating spinach enthusiastically until I was pregnant with my first child. Then, I couldn’t get enough of it. I’d stroll down the grocery aisles surreptitiously, sneaking into the freezer section, piling boxes of frozen spinach one at a time, looking right and left to make sure no one saw. After all, who eats spinach voraciously like a wolf attacking red meat?

I’d rush home and start a small saucepan of boiling water, dropping in that iced square of green stringy stuff, timing the steaming impatiently, sighing with satisfaction as I gorged on the delicious delicacy with pure delight.

Some say my body craved iron; I say I just finally learned to let go of my prejudices and discover the goodness of vegetables.

Aldous Huxley once wrote: “The charm of history…consists in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is quite different.” Same with broccoli and childhood. My grandchildren are now squirming through the difficulties of eating their vegetables. Sophie, 3 ½ years old, shows her quiet resolve to make it through this ordeal with good cheer as she “eats the broccoli.”

Check out her secret here, and then go eat your vegetables!

19 thoughts on “Eating the Broccoli

  1. Just wonderful! Thanks for sharing and for bringing to mind the memories of my kids with trying to get them to eat veggies…anything green, fergitabotit! Why didn’t I think of the ketchup idea?! Brilliant! So adorable too! I loved your pea milk visual…eeeek! Back in the day when I was a kid (yes, life has come to that phrase), we never ate vegetables in Chicago except a carrot in matzo ball soup is all I can remember! I think veggies were more of a California sunshine concept! Being a meat eating town (funny to think of that now when I don’t eat red meat!), it was Chgo dogs, brisket, etc., I don’t remember a green thing on the plate, but yes, plenty of ketchup! I love veggies now! My kids want me to eat more of them! Interesting how that turns around. You don’t have to worry about kids never liking vegetables, they always seems to grow into them, hence, your pregnancy spinach! Ooooh, that pea milk is making me cringe! You always brighten my day with your stories and make me think, smile, react, laugh, (even cringe!)..guess that’s the sign of a great writer!!!! Thanks!


  2. PS: OMG…that was Sophie in the video! I thought possibly but didn’t think she was that big already! She is absolutely gorgeous and so sweet!!! You’ll have to make a video book, she’ll act out what you write! Oh Pam, she is just adorable!


  3. So cute! My grandson dips veggies in applesauce, but ketchup is another good idea. Or spaghetti sauce! Funny how we all dislike veggies as kids but usually love them as adults. Such is life, and you are wonderfully gifted at describing it. Keep the stories coming!


  4. Your story made me remember when my four-year-old Samantha went to daycare — the lady, Randi, was a health nut & thought the kids should eat good stuff (of course, that’s why I chose her). She was so pleased that Samantha gobbled down her lentils (the only child she took care of who would eat them!). Samantha was (and still is at 27) a good eater. She liked plain sourdough bread with no butter and wouldn’t touch a French fry. I have a picture of her on the patio, stark naked, expect for her bunny slippers, sourdough baguette in one hand, stick of celery in the other.

    Your granddaughter is precious, Pam!


  5. Pam, I’ve tagged you for a little blog project called “Getting to Know You” if you are at all interested. No pressure, just thought I’d throw it out to you. Directions are posted on my blog.


  6. This is your mother – you also put your peas in your knee sox or tried to get the dog to eat greens. (and my craving was also spinach when pregnant)
    you were destined to end up with greens!!!


    • Pam…you put peas in your knee socks?!!!! Whaaat?!!! That is sooooooo groooossss!!! Lucky thing you weren’t wearing nylons – green, squishy, smelly polka dots! On top of it, you abused your dog, forcing him to be a vegetarian when he really wanted Friskies Pink Slime! Mom, what else did Pam do as a kid? It’s all coming out!


  7. Cute story–and cute video. It’s interesting how we (OK some of us) grow to adore our green vegetables. Sometimes I think I could live on ’em alone. Don’t even need ketchup… 🙂


  8. In my twenties, it took my boyfriend (now husband) covering vegetables with cheese to get me to try them. I still consider cheese the best gateway drug for trying new things.


  9. I always loved vegetables and fruit. It was meat that my mother couldn’t get me to eat no matter what she tried. I knew as a small child that it was an animal and I could never bite into flesh.

    I ❤ veggies!!

    ❤ carmen

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