Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I've discovered a foolproof method of getting my kids to eat absolutely anything I want them to eat - the catch? The invention - and patent - is impossible.

I have always marveled at Aidan's willingness to eat anything that grows outside. As a toddler, Aidan refused most vegetables - except the cherry tomatoes we grow on the deck, and the ones from my parents' garden. Sun-ripened, warm from the sunshine and the heat of the day, Aidan would eagerly eat one after another, and clearly his preference also included eating them with Grandpa.

In California last summer on the Vanoni farm, Leo and Aidan both grazed from sun up to sun down on the plethora of foods the farm has to offer - plump red strawberries; luscious, full blueberries; mouth-puckering lemons; gorgeous green avocados like nothing you'll ever see in an East coast store. Sometimes, Leo didn't even discriminate between ripe and unripe: if he could pick it, he would eat it. It was every mother's dream.

I nearly fell of the trail last month when we were hiking with my brother and his family. Aunt Linsey found wild arugula growing, and although lettuce has never crossed the child's lips before in his life, Aidan could not get enough of the wild greens.

As our humble garden slowly awakens to spring, some perennial herbs have returned, including mint and chives. For some reason beyond all comprehension, both boys love the chives, and munch on them every time we go outside. Personally, I like the chives only as a deer deterrant and for the cute purple flowers they sprout; raw onions make me cranky, and chives are no exception. I am nearly repulsed when the boys come in with their oniony breath after what was supposed to be a quick jaunt up to the mailbox! They always manage a detour by the patch of herbs....

And so, my invention: anything I am hoping to get the kids to eat, I will plant in the ground and grow on a vine. I'm not talking carrots and peas here, I'm talking all the dinners I slave over each night! Pasta Primavera, delicately bursting from thin green vines... Black Bean Enchilladas stoutly springing from thick woody branches.... Curried Chicken curling off straight green stems.... and Seared Salmon spreading like ground cover on the hill. Fine, I'm not actually the next Einstein, but at least I've dished up some interesting food for thought.

1 comment:

Linsey said...

Julian is also a little onion fiend and thief. Whenever we are in the backyard he crawls up to the onions and starts grazing on the onion greens. I was planting bunching onions at the farm the other day and he uprooted every other one....

Do they know they can eat the chive flowers? Hugo always gets a kick out of edible flowers.

Aidan and Leo would go nuts for the giant strawberry patch at the farm.