Saturday, August 26, 2006

Broccoli Afro, Vegetable Nemesis

I watched my son Gabriel hack and struggle through the greeny goodness of his broccoli the other day. He took a few moments to explain his ground rules for the vegetable.

"Mom says I have to eat the leaves, but I don't have eat the whole tree."

And true to his word, he was busily deforesting his forest of broccoli, chewing off the soft little leaves which comprised maybe a quarter of each broccoli stalk and leaving the huge fallen trunks to be thrown away.

In other words, my son only eats the part of the broccoli that I used to refer to as the "broccoli Afro". I do not use this designation any more because it is potentially offensive and because I'm terrified that one of my children will go to school and announce, "My dad says that I have to eat Afros because they're good for me."

Parents have interesting phobias.

I can't blame Gabriel for being cautious about vegetables. It turns out that everyone in the world has vegetable nemesis. Mine is beets. Put a plate of those purple bastards in front of me and I'll writhe and cry and possibly even throw up. And that's just from seeing them. I am constantly amazed that the only food really, really healthful for us is the food that no one really, deep down, likes eating.

While I considered this, I took Gabriel's forest of half-eaten broccoli trees down off the table and put them in the dog's dish. The dog came over for a second, sniffed the broccoli and gave me a look that said, "Sorry, dude, but I only eat the leaves."

It occurs to me that my dog will eat her own vomit, but she will not eat broccoli.

When I was young and wouldn't eat my beets, my grandmother used to talk about how much she liked vegetables, beets in particular.

She was lying.

1 comment:

rod said...

my wife used to tell stories about being made to sit at the table for weeks at a time because she refused to eat certain veggies.
At a particularly well attended family holiday meal for which we traveled 10 hours, I learned first hand the heavy hand of parental veggie wars. There were at least 10 different kinds of veggies on the monstrous table and my kids had no problem with 9 of them. The beets were the deal, and 15 family members lit into my kids like they were skeet. I couldn't stand for it and stood up for my kids so that all 4 of us were on the firing line. There are 9 other veggies on the table!!!!!!! I will not make my kids eat something that would rot my own stomach.
My wife and I fought about it all the 10 hours home.