We have two cucumber plants in our small urban garden, and while one of them is reluctantly offering up one or two every couple of weeks, the other has produced more crunchy green veg than even my cucumber-loving family can consume.
If the soaring number of hits on this blog related to “how to get kids to eat veggies” are any indication, many people would say I should be grateful that my kids happily munch on cucumbers. And, indeed, I am glad. We eat quite a lot of vegetables in our house, but the truth is, it’s mostly the big five: cucumbers, carrots, celery, broccoli and corn.
Occasionally (last night), I’ll decide that the kids need to branch out (don’t they have to try something at least a thousand times before they like it?), and I’ll insist no one is leaving the table until they try (just try!) a taste of something new. Say, marinated, grilled zucchini (last night).
Usually (but not always, hence my occasional return to this tactic), it blows up in my face. The family implodes, there are tears and screaming, the digging in of feet (both big and small). It’s a disaster—and all because of a sliver of summer squash.
Actually, I think the problem lies less with the zucchini and more with the lack of options. Nobody likes to be told they have to do something or else, and children are no different.
My new resolve is to return to offering new vegetables, but not insist. I’ll encourage them to try things (“remember when you tried fillintheblank and loved it?”) but not draw any lines in the sand. In the meantime—and no doubt for the foreseeable future—we’ll be eating lots and lots of cucumbers.
[photo by Andrea Curtis]