The Golden Age of Childhood Veggie Consumption — NAWWT

meowser-48.jpg posted by meowser

Over at Chez Paul yesterday, in the forums, Kunoichi posted a link to a flamebait column (regular columnist, not op-ed one-shot) in the Edmonton Sun called “Grow Up, Fatties!”  Yeah, you just know this ain’t gonna be no Paul Campos shit just from the title, right?  (Meowser’s Rules of Flamebait Linkage apply here; if you must see the article, go through Paul.  But trust me, you’re not gonna like it.)  Using fourth-grade epithets to address your audience just has mature discourse written all over it, mais oui. (Ordinarily I wouldn’t bother with the French, but since it’s Canadian flamebait I felt I had to, sorry.)

I, unfortunately, having chosen to write about this guck, had to look at it, if only just to see what this paragon of sophistication’s name was so I could address it by given nomenclature. It’s Mindelle Jacobs. Mindy to you. (Her email: mindy.jacobs at sunmedia dot ca; her paper’s email, mailbag at edmsun dot com.) Okay, Mindy. I’m not going to bother giving your article a full fisking, because frankly, I’ve seen about 10,000 versions of this story already and it’s getting REAAAALLLY BOOOORING. ZZZZZZZ. And also…ZZZZZZZZZ.

“Whatever happened to responsible parenting, healthy eating, exercise and self-restraint? Oh, I forgot. Switching from belly-bulging, greasy fast food and pop to fruit, veggies and small cuts of meat is too tough.”

“Getting fit isn’t so tough, folks. Turn off the TV, go for a walk or a run or head to the gym. Snack on fruit and veggies and make high-calorie foods a rare treat. In other words, grow up and start taking some responsibility for yourselves and your children.”

Are you asleep yet? Hope not. Because what made me want to write about this was this one sentence in it. Quoting Dr. David Lau, the president of Obesity Canada:

“Some kids don’t even know what broccoli is,” he adds. “Don’t you find it frightening? That, to me, is a daily staple.”

Doc, how old are you? Twenty-five? I’m asking this question not to be ageist, but because he, like so many other yups, has a condition I like to call Veggie Amnesia — in other words, he (like his mouthpiece Mindy) seems to think there was some golden age in North America’s past when the majority of kids eagerly (or even reluctantly, with Mom putting the hammer down on their well-disciplined heads) snarfed piles of fresh leafy greens. If you’re 25 and middle-class-to-affluent, and the adults you lived with insisted on everyone sitting down together to eat every day (big “if” there, too), fresh leafy greens might well have been a staple for you growing up. Which is not to say you necessarily ate them, mind you, but at least your dog got some under the dinner table.

But I’ve been around a bit longer than that, I’m afraid. And what I remember from my childhood dinner table was…I Hate Peas. Not “I hate peas,” because I eventually discovered that I personally don’t, in fact, hate peas. But an actual product called I Hate Peas.

When I was a kid, the “preferred” way for veggies to be served was “boiled to death,” often after they’d come out of a can. Frozen if we were lucky. Fresh veggies — let alone organic ones — other than iceberg lettuce, corn, onions, carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes — were true rarities (and most of those we saw only in the summer months when Mom pulled them out of the garden). And we weren’t dirt-poor or agriculture-deprived by any means. Consequently very few kids then admitted to liking vegetables, other than a few favorites (I was partial to Chinese mushrooms and boil-in-pouch creamed spinach myself), and there were lots of brackish-looking peas and suchlike being secretly fed under the table to canines. (Although not by me; no dogs in my house, alas.)

So in the early 1970s, in order to deal with this parental despair about kids not consuming all that glorious roughage that had already had the vitamins and most of the flavor leeched from it in the saucepan (no microwaves then either), there came to be a product called “I Hate Peas,” which was frozen french fries with mashed peas in them, and there were also “I Hate Corn,” “I Hate Beets,” and “I Hate Spinach,” same deal. (I have no tangible proof of this product’s existence, but if I’m hallucinating this stuff, so were a lot of other people my age: see here, here, and here.) I even remember the TV jingle, it went something like: “I hate practicing my ABCs/But most of all/I hate peas!”

How’d it taste? Oh, like ass-flavored chalk, just about. (They didn’t last more than a year on the market, IIRC.) But they were fries! Yeah, in those glory days of Moms Who Made You Eat Your Veggies ‘Cause That Was Their Job (harhar), that’s what “Mom” was asking Big Food for as a tool to get us to eat our peas, corn, beets, and spinach, fries to mix the dreaded veggies into. ‘Cause we loved those veggies that much. HAHAHAHA.

I read in one of Mary Pipher’s books (I’m pretty sure it was The Shelter of Each Other) once about a woman who was forced to eat broccoli when she was a child even though she hated it, and when she threw it up, was forced to eat the broccoli vomit. Mmm, so healthy. And you can bet that as an adult, she never touched the stuff again. Can’t blame her there. Damn, but I cannot begin to tell you how many adults I’ve met, while they’d never experienced anything quite that extreme, still don’t care much for the green-and-orange stuff because “they made me eat that crap when I was little.”

I’m all for turning kids on to new things they might not try otherwise, but forcing them to eat stuff they know they don’t like? I don’t see the point, frankly. And as far as I can see, young people have eaten a lot more fresh veggies in their lives, both in volume and in variety, than even most vegetarians my age and older ever did, let alone omnivores. (My grandfather was a vegetarian all his life, and I don’t remember ever seeing even him loading up on the fresh leafy greens.) If you want to freak out about lack of veggie consumption, please, limit it to the poor people who can’t afford or get access to any of that shit even if they want it. Middle-to-upper-class kids don’t need your handwringing bullcrap, Dr. Obesity Canada.

And speaking of being concerned about the health and nutritional needs of the poor, this piece by brownfemipower, about her dad who worked in the fields picking berries and at other backbreaking pesticide-riddled agricultural tasks, makes me wonder on whose backs we’re building our so-healtheeee fruit-and-veggies-year-round lifestyles on. (BFP also said, in an earlier piece, that the average lifespan of farm workers in the U.S. is 49. Ye gods.) If we have to trash other people’s health to improve our own, I don’t see how that’s anything much to brag about. Eating veggies and fruit, and getting your kids to eat them, might make you and them feel good, but please, don’t act like it’s a goddamn public service, because unless you’re one of the few people who grows all your own or has managed to become part of some neighborhood cooperative, really, it’s not. (Organic farming may eliminate the pesticide aspect of the whole farming business, which is certainly a good start, but mostly it’s still backbreaking shitwork done for very little pay and no benefits, far as I can tell. If you have better information about this than I do, though, by all means please share it.) Reading BFP’s piece made me want to never buy any foodstuff that didn’t come out of a test tube, ever again. I could do that for myself if I had to, but my cats wouldn’t survive. Shit, shit, shit.

But speaking of growing your own, we just had our first harvest of fresh peas today from the garden. I shelled the damn things raw and just gobbled them up like candy, they were so sweet. And there are raspberries, my faaaaavorite, falling off the bushes right now. (You want raspberries? Come by with your container and I’ll give you some. We’re having to stick them in the freezer at the rate they’re ripening. I’m drinking bellinis, raspberry tea, raspberry lemonade, raspberry everything now.) It made me wish everyone, kids included, had a chance to do that, have the joy of planting stuff they love and just pick it off the bushes at their own pace and eat it any way they want — no shoulds, no rules, no nothin’. But of course, doing it that way would mean we’d get fresh veggies and fruit maybe three months out of the year, and then it’s back to the test tube. Let’s all have a toast to Healtheeee Eating — with a giant-ass can of Boost.


29 Responses to “The Golden Age of Childhood Veggie Consumption — NAWWT”

  1. The Bald Soprano Says:

    I remember when I was growing up, a satirical song about how President Bush (that’d be senior, of course) wouldn’t eat his broccoli, as a kid or as an adult.

    (and try making raspberry jam! If I were anywhere near you, I’d take you up on your offer and make some myself…)

  2. TropicalChrome Says:

    Oh,*raspberries*. If I could, I would take you up on that offer and beg for enough to make a batch of homemade raspberry jelly. We had raspberry bushes growing up and Dad used to make jelly. It was SO GOOD, it tastes like summer. I’m envious, truly I am.

  3. nuckingfutz Says:

    Stuff like this pisses me right the fuck off.

    For one thing, I was raised by my grandmother – who came of age in the 50’s. Remember the 50’s version of a meal? Meat, at least one veg but usually 2, and bread. Guess what my meals consisted mostly of as a kid? Yup – VEGETABLES. And hey, guess what? I still ended up fat. (Oh, and we were pretty poor, too, but my grandmother was good at getting a mix of canned, frozen, AND fresh veggies. It wasn’t canned shit all the time, thank FSM.)

    And my OWN kids? I got lucky. Not only do they actually LIKE vegetables, if they see one they’ve never had before, they WANT to try it. As in “Mom, can we get some of this? PLEEEEEEEEEEEASE????” Of course, that doesn’t always mean they’re going to LIKE whatever it is, but I think the excitement over trying new foods is a good thing.

    But the fact that they like and eat vegetables doesn’t mean they’re immune to getting fat. I have 4 girls, and having one fat parent and one thin parent (my oldest 2’s fathers were both thin as well, so this applies to all of them) means they have a 50/50 chance of being fat, regardless of their lifestyle choices.

    (Also, as an aside, I would absolutely love to be able to grow my own. But having absolutely ZERO soil on my property [concrete for a “backyard”] means that’s impossible. So I envy you just a little bit.)

  4. lilacsigil Says:

    I was raised by a health-obsessed mother who hated food and cooking – I grew up on a diet of no junk food, no sugar, and raw vegetables (including traditionally cooked vegies like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower) and tiny portions. Once I reached my teens and grew to the enormous size of 5’7″ and a BMI of (OMG) 23, I was put on a strict diet – lots of exercise, even smaller portions, separate meals from the rest of the family and no dairy products other than skim milk.

    Guess what? I’m STILL FAT! (and I still can’t drink soft drink – the bubbles freak me out.)

  5. Meowser Says:

    Yeah, don’t you just love the assumption that the veggie lovers are all thin, and the veggie haters are all fat? They’ve never met some of my ex-boyfriends.

  6. queendom Says:

    Fat vegetarian here – and yeah, I do love veggies. I also posted some time ago about how ridiculous it is to rate your foods “moral” value according to how good it is for your OWN body. What about other people, animals, the environment in general? What about pesticides, herbicides, broken backs, low wages, and the energy that goes into transport and storage? Nobody will always make the perfect food choices in terms of what is good for them and for others, but can we at least think about those things?
    In any case, I grew up in the German country side (my dad was a farmer but changed his profession later on) and while farming is still hard work and harvesting is usually done by Polish “guest workers” (because the wages are too low and the work is too hard to get any German to do it) the workers are treated well by the majority of farmers (who obviously participate in the harvest themselves). But this is in Germany, I can’t say anything about the US. I wonder, however, what will happen once costs of living and wages in Poland and other countries in Middle and Eastern Europe go up to a level at which people there don’t earn more during one harvest in Western Europe than they earn working one year in their regular jobs at home. I am not an economist, but a system that is long-term dependent on other people being poorer than people in your country to keep running seems problematic and to some degree ethically questionable to me.

  7. Paul Says:

    It flies very closely to the age-old “you can’t be a fat vegetarian” myth. Great post as usual, Meowser.

  8. pennylane Says:

    I’m a fat VEGAN. I must be doing it wrong. I ate loads of vegetables as a child and moved around a lot. I was a fat child.

    But I especially like that you address some of the class issues. Not only the condescending feed fruits and vegetables and go outside–because everyone has the time and money for a gym membership and making elaborate homemade meals. And I’m so glad you linked brownfemipower’s post. I grew up in an agricultural community and the way in which our food is made is not always good for the humans. If you wanna moralize about food, let’s talk about making a range of foods available to all people WITHOUT doing it on the back of others.

    I am drooling reading about your raspberries.

  9. Tiana Says:

    I’m getting more and more confused about the moral implications of buying certain foods. It seems that no matter what I eat, I’m always harming someone in the process unless it comes from my own garden! And I don’t have one. Should I just eat whatever I want and stop thinking about it?? Then again, I don’t really have a choice anyway because I only have access to three supermarkets and there I buy whatever I can afford. :/

    You’re absolutely right, though. I may be too young to have witnessed it myself, but I still don’t believe that kids were any different a few generations ago. It is entirely possible that there are more children who don’t know what certain vegetables ARE these days, but that doesn’t mean the ones who knew what they were actually ate and liked them. I don’t know where I got this impression, but I’ve always thought it was common sense.

  10. Bree Says:

    That column is just another example of an ignoramus (my word for the day) who only thinks people are fat because of what they eat and not wanting to exercise. They either don’t know or refuse to take into consideration other factors for fatness besides “well, they can’t stop visiting McDonald’s and all they want to do is sit on their butts all day.” Well, when fast food value meals that feed a family of four is cheaper than cooking home meals with the five food groups every night, and some gym memberships equal the cost of monthly car payments, is it any wonder people on fixed incomes do what they do? Many poorer people don’t have a car to go to a gym or live in areas where just stepping out to get the mail is dangerous, and if you have the public transit like I do, where it only runs M-F from 6-6 and doesn’t do weekends or major holidays, it’s kinda hard to get where you want to go unless you don’t work.

    We have GOT to stop criminalizing fat. It’s just excess body tissue. It is not the weapon that will destroy the fabric of the universe.

  11. Becky Says:

    Seriously! I am 25 and did grow up comfortably middle class, and I still remember frozen peas and mushy canned green beans. I hate peas to this day, and the only reason I like green beans is because my parents switched to fresh when I was still young enough for them to make me eat them. Relatively affordable fresh produce is a relatively new thing (and of course it’s still out of reach for a lot of people).

    And yeah… fast food nation had already turned me off meat (because of the way the workers in the meat packing industry are treated) and then reading BFPs post made me want to stop eating fruits and veggies too. I started getting everything at the farmer’s market, but that’s a lot more expensive. I can afford it, but I know not everyone can.

  12. Christine Says:

    My childhood veggie experiences pretty much mirror everyone else’s here. I had to grow up and get away from my mother’s cooking to realize veggies didn’t have to come from a can and weren’t all olive-green and mushy.

    My 11-year-old daughter is another story. She ADORES fruits and veggies – she begs me for mangoes at the grocery store and whoops and cheers when I tell her we’re having Hawaiian Chicken Salad for dinner (a salad I make using fresh spinach and grilled chicken). She’s not an overly active kid – meaning that she’ll choose reading a book or doing a craft over running around in the backyard – but I make sure she’s involved in organized physical activities that she enjoys. For several weeks this summer (this one included), she’s trekking around at Girl Scout camp – swimming, boating, creeking, and getting really dirty. (During the school year, it’s cheerleading.) Guess what? She’s still a big girl. (I waffle back and forth between using the word fat, even though I want that word to be emotionally neutral for her, because I’m not always sure it’s accurate. She’s big like Jordin Sparks is big, if you KWIM.) Healthy eating and activity are great things in and of themselves – they’re just not going to make fat kids thin.

  13. fatgirlonadate Says:

    Yeah, right. Broccoli is a daily staple? Seriously? ‘Cause that doesn’t leave a lot of time for asparagus and cauliflower and red peppers and spinach and okra and tomatoes and carrots and whatever.

    That’s one of the things that drives me crazy – these people seem to have blinders on with regards to their own eating.

  14. Meowser Says:

    Seriously, FGOAD. There is so much WTFFFF in the statement that even though I went on about it for six weeks, I could barely get it unpacked. It kind of makes me miss Bush’s dad, who made no bones about disliking broccoli and liking pork rinds, even though my tastes are the complete inverse; at least he was honest about it.

    Anyway, who are these kids who have “never heard of broccoli”? Can they go actually five minutes in school or turning on the TV without getting the Vegetable Dance anymore?

  15. JeanC Says:

    Broccoli as a staple? Not in our house it wasn’t. The veggies we got were usually out of a can and then boiled to death in a pot on the stove. Mom did broccoli and cauliflower every once in a while and it wasn’t until I was in my mid 20s I discovered broccoli wasn’t supposed to be gray and limp.

    I still can’t look at a can of spinach without wanting to throw up. My preferred method of eating that crap was to have the fork in one hand and the glass of milk or water in the other so I could immediately wash the spinach down without tasting it (if I were lucky). My mom always yelled at me when I did that, but I would have the serious urge to puke at the table if I had to taste that crap straight.

  16. Bilt4Cmfrt Says:

    Really, Meowser! I mean, kids in Darfur and Sri Lanka who have never heard of antibiotics, sure. But kids in America who have never heard of BROCCOLI? Shocking. . . Wait, not only would that undermine the ducky Dr. Lua’s little statement but it might trivialize the, never-before-heard and ultra important message behind Mrs. Mindi’s whole article. . . Nevermind.

  17. Meowser Says:

    JeanC, spinach milk? Heehee! I don’t know why your mom would get upset with you over that, at least you got it down.

    As a teenaged vegetarian, I remember a recipe I used to make of spinach burgers, that came from the singer Melanie, made with canned spinach. And I actually thought it wasn’t horrible, until I made the same recipe with frozen spinach and it tasted SO much better. (At that time, nobody knew about triple washing fresh spinach, so to me it always tasted like a sandbox until I figured that out.)

  18. Meowser Says:

    I’m getting more and more confused about the moral implications of buying certain foods. It seems that no matter what I eat, I’m always harming someone in the process unless it comes from my own garden! And I don’t have one. Should I just eat whatever I want and stop thinking about it??

    Well, I certainly couldn’t blame you if you did. Look, this is the very first place I’ve ever lived where I could grow anything, and I’m almost 45, so I know gardens are a luxury for most people. (Even if you have the space, do you have the time? And the climate? And the soil? And a lack of wild animals raiding what you plant?) I’d love to see more being done with hydroponics being made affordable for more people; you can’t grow everything that way, but you can grow a lot of things that way.

    But on the micro level, I think anything is better than nothing. Even if you buy one thing every now and then that’s fair trade or not grown with pesticides, that’s something. But the fact that even someone like me who fancies herself reasonably socially aware and yet was just gobsmacked to really think about how farming affects the workers says something about how much people are kept in the dark about that stuff. The more people who know, the better the chance of real change.

  19. fatfu Says:

    You know what’s just so rich? She’s relying on DAVID LAU OF ALL PEOPLE to lambast “Americans” for relying on pharmaceuticals to get the “quick fix”.

    David Lau is a *weight loss drug researcher* and one of the biggest promoters of weight loss drugs in all of Canada. He wrote national guidelines saying that anybody with a BMI of over 30 or 27 + risk factors should be put on drugs if “lifestyle changes” don’t “work” within a few months (notably failing to mention if and when they should ever be taken off of them. Here’s a link to at least one doctor writing in to complain about that. )

    My guess is that setting up an “expert panel” to write pro-drug guidelines is probably the purpose of “Obesity Canada,” which he’s supposedly the president of – although it’s hard to tell – they don’t even have a website so God only knows who they are.

    But for what it’s worth here are just *some* of the pharmaceutical companies who either fund his research or for whom he’s a “consultant” or “advisor” (never a euphemism for on the take).

    Abbott Laboratories (makers of sibutramine)
    Roche (makers of orlistat)
    sanofi-aventis (makers of rimonabant)
    Bristol Myers Squibb
    Dainippon Pharmaceuticals
    Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals
    Novo Nordisk

    And yup, for most of these companies, if they don’t actually have an obesity drug on the market, they’ve got one in trials.

  20. Meowser Says:

    Actually, they do have a Web site: But it tells you nothing other than that it’s part of LifeMD, whose site in turn tells you nothing about who’s sponsoring them. Damn, I knew I should have checked with you first, Fu, you’re like an information tree.

  21. Meowser Says:

    Aaaaaand I wonder if the Edmonton Sun’s ombudsman should be told about this eensy little conflict of interest. Whaddaya think, Fu?

  22. fatfu Says:

    No I think that Obesity Canada is something different. I don’t think it’s the same organization.

    I guess they should be told, but I don’t know that I’d characterize it as a conflict of interest so much as blatant hypocrisy. I mean he’s totally shameless. I went to that editorial expecting to be all outraged (I was) but more I was just laughing my head off reading Laus’ quotes. If ever there was a guy who’s pro drugs it’s David Lau.

    But from an editorial perspective, I don’t think you really have to do anything about hypocrisy per se. They *should* always be reporting corporate ties and vested interests of “experts” (they rarely do). But in this case, he’s not explicitly promoting weight loss drugs which is where they’d really have gotten themselves in trouble. He’s just being completely full of shit. I’m not sure what their guideline for that is.

  23. jaed Says:

    I would absolutely love to be able to grow my own. But having absolutely ZERO soil on my property [concrete for a “backyard”] means that’s impossible.

    nuckingfutz, if your concrete gets some sun and you’re lusting after homegrown veggies, you can grow a lot of stuff in pots. I live in a house that’s on a half lot, so my backyard consists of a tiny strip of concrete, but there’s room for some pots for tomatoes and squash and basil and hot peppers.

    Also: WANT RASPBERRIES TOTALLY NOW even though it is two in the morning.

  24. lori Says:

    Great post. I love it when people have such thorough replies to articles that I don’t need to upset myself by reading the original.

    Anecdotally, I never ate veggies as a kid and teen. Mushrooms and tomato sauce were it. And, I was always “normal” weight until I got on an SSRI and moved into the “overweight” category. When I began to cook and realized that veggies did not need to be boiled to mush, and discovered that there were dozens of vegetables I loved, I started eating them regularly and didn’t lose any weight.

    So, my veggie consumption has nothing to do with my weight.

  25. lori Says:

    I’m all for turning kids on to new things they might not try otherwise, but forcing them to eat stuff they know they don’t like? I don’t see the point, frankly.

    Just wanted to add how entirely I agree with this.

    I’m honestly horrified by how many parents I know who have the attitude that, if their child won’t eat the dinner they made, even if they are fully aware it is food the child doesn’t like or won’t like, the child goes hungry. Those are the choices: eat what your parents tell you you should eat, or don’t eat at all. And people honestly believe this will cause their children to love healthy foods. I don’t get it. Everybody I know who was repeatedly forced to eat something they didn’t like as a child stopped eating that food as soon as they were able.

    I let my son eat what he wants, within some reasonable limits. So if I make, say, a spicy coconut soup for dinner, I don’t expect him to eat it, no matter how healthy my soup is. If he wants PB&J or grilled cheese or a sliced apple or even (get ready to be horrified) a can of Spaghetti-Os or a bowl of cereal, he can have that instead. And I’ve had this criticized by many people as teaching him unhealthy eating habits. I’m not sure when allowing a child to eat foods that they like, in the amount they want, as teaching them unhealthy habits.

    I tend to think that teaching a child that they either eat something they don’t like or starve is going to lead to a much more unhealthy relationship with food, even if it makes the parent feel nice and righteous.

  26. Zoe Says:

    Vegetables of all kinds were a daily staple at my house (and sure enough, I fit all your “golden age of veggie consumption” criteria). No matter how many times I was forced to eat them, though, I still didn’t like them. I don’t care what people say about how if you always give kids veggies and never give them sugar they’ll grow up loving veggies and not caring about sugar; it did not work. Also, I got to the size I am now while I was eating all those veggies.

  27. Katharine Says:

    If you’re posting links through other people’s pages, maybe you could post links through pages that are generally available? I am not a member of Paul’s forums, and thus am told that the page is “off limits”.

    And my fat mother fed us home-cooked food, with vegetables (broccoli was a favourite for all of us — little trees!) all our childhood lives — I ate out maybe a dozen times before I hit sixteen — and three of the four of us were fat kids, while two of the three have grown to be fat adults. Like everyone else, I am utterly sick of the “drop the junk food bag, blobbo!” arguments.

  28. LS Says:

    I think I’m younger than the Golden Age of Veggies. Meals around my house growing up were your fairly bog-standard meat-starch-veg, like a TV dinner minus the tray. Trouble was that Mom and Dad’s (mostly Dad’s) idea of ‘veg’ was primarily canned green beans. There were weeks we ate canned green beans at every meal – and we were comfortably middle-class and could have bought what we liked.

    I now have a reputation for “hating” green beans, because in high school and college I utterly revolted against the tyranny of the watery grey-green lumps and refused to eat them. It therefore blew my Dad’s mind when I cooked for the family (in an attempt to get away from Dad’s menu planning: grilled lump of beef, potato, green beans) and one of my meals included the dreaded beans. Fresh. Steamed al dente, lightly tossed in olive oil, with slivered almonds. “But you hate green beans!” he protests. “Not like this,” said I. “But they’re the same thing!” I was too boggled that he literally could not understand the difference to reply.

    If it were all veggies, I’d understand. But we had a garden growing up (we grew beans; they never made it to the kitchen. Raw fresh-picked = yum. The peas never made it inside either.) and Dad’s a snob about bought corn and tomatoes. You eat them fresh from the garden or not at all, because they have no flavor if you get them from the grocery store. (I live in the heart of a city now; I buy them at the store.) I still don’t get how he can’t see the difference between fresh crisp goodness and salty smooshy grey things. As you can tell from the garden stuff, we did have plenty of veggies around growing up. The parental blind spot about them only seems to kick in with cooked veggies (in addition to green beans, we got peas and broccoli and occasionally carrots; corn when it came out of the garden, and that was it. I was an adult before I knew you could cook other stuff). Snacks were often raw veg: crudites abounded, and I spent a few summers living off tomato sandwiches. Strangeness.

  29. Meowser Says:

    Sorry, Katharine, I guess I pretty much assumed that everyone who reads me is a BFB-er also. But if you Google “Mindelle Jacobs Grow Up Fatties,” you’ll get the link.

    Lori, you mean people actually expect little kids to eat spicy coconut soup and like it? Well, who knows, maybe if you have a little fire-eater on your hands, they might try it and love it. But that’s probably not typical. I didn’t like anything spicy until I was at least 11 or 12.

    LS, I remember at some point in the 1970s people discovered there were multiple ways to serve cooked veggies other than “boiled to death,” and it was pretty miraculous, wasn’t it? I kind of knew that already from eating my share of Chinese food as a kid — couldn’t get enough of those stir-fried mushrooms! — but it didn’t start to make its way into middle-American kitchens until I was a teenager. Slivered almonds, duh-ROOOOL.

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