Read The Laughing Chef's bio and previous
August 26, 2009
The Cleverer Way to Get
Children to Eat Vegetables
school of thought exists that to get children to eat vegetables, you
need to apply one of two things to them – cheese or chocolate. In fact,
it is widely held that the Swiss invented fondue for this very reason,
except that originally it was meant to add further inducement to
skeptical children – the knowledge that one was cooking over an original
There is something to that. The easiest way to get children to eat
broccoli is to slather over the top of it a thick layer of melted
Velveeta cheese. The benefit of this is that the coating not only
disguises all hint of vegetable-related flavor, but also masks the
appearance nearly completely. It is like a kind of edible paint meant to
make a dingy, one-room efficiency appear to a child’s palate to be the
Although this most commonly proves successful, it does bring with it the
negative side effect of effectively negating all health benefits from
eating the broccoli in the first place. The food may be full of
nutrients and minerals, but what does it matter when the fats,
cholesterol and sodium involved guarantee a child’s heart to explode by
cleverer gambit is necessary, beginning with the broccoli itself.
The question is – fresh or frozen. The answer is – if you insist on
eating frozen broccoli, always expect that it will turn out to be
entirely inedible. It is probably already soggy and devoid of
nutritional content, and will require something so awful that you would
have been better off simply skipping dinner. Always go with fresh.
Cut up your broccoli and steam it lightly. Rumor has it that this
retains the maximum nutritional value. At any rate, it will be more
edible if you steam it lightly than if you scald it with steam for so
long it falls apart at a fork’s touch.
While this is steaming, perhaps for as little as 10 minutes over a light
simmer, create the sauce. Melt some butter over a medium-low heat. This
will prevent the melted butter from burning and turning what is about to
be a very lovely, citrusy sauce into a darkened horror.
Add some minced garlic and stir it around for a few minutes so it
doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, and releases its flavors. Add to
that some ground black pepper and finally a generous tablespoon of fresh
is a little known secret, but fresh lemon juice is the skeleton key of
the green vegetable world. It unlocks every door, allows you full
access. There may be some green vegetables that do not go well with
fresh lemon juice, but they are considered among their kind as traitors
to the state.
Allow to set for a few minutes, as the broccoli finishes cooking. The
sauce will thicken a little bit, allowing it to cling to the steamed
broccoli and infiltrate its tree-like crowns, which will prompt the
release of slight garlicky-lemony tastes when bitten into.
North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
Click here to talk to our writers and
editors about this column and others in our discussion forum.
To e-mail feedback
about this column,
click here. If you enjoy this writer's
work, please contact your local newspapers editors and ask them to carry
This is Column
Request permission to publish here.