Tuesday, October 16, 2007
P is for Peppers
Someone sent me a link to an article about a woman in America who has brought out a book of recipes designed to enable parents to give their children vegetables without any family rows. The idea is that you puree vegetables and include them in recipes, matching the vegetable puree in colour so that it is not detected by the children. I suppose Jessica Seinfeld is working on the principle that what you don't know about you don't worry about. I can see the logic and I admire her for finding a way that works for her family.
"The trick to all of this is hiding vegetable purees in your children's foods," she says. "You can match the color of the puree to the color of the food that your kid is used to eating."
But part of me thinks that this method, though admirable, is missing the point. Mealtime is not about tricking children into eating something unwittingly. That is to reduce vegetables to the status of medicine. It also does nothing to help the child to learn to taste them, learn how and where they are grown, how to cook them. I am sure that if I had spent the last year pureeing vegetables for Freddie and including them in recipes without him knowing, he would not have changed one iota. He would have remained resolutely anti-vegetable. Where is the fun in that?
Pureeing is useful - when the texture of a vegetable is off-putting to a child, but they should still know what they are eating. What do you all think?
We are moving on to P for Peppers. This is a vegetable that starts off in the "I hate category" on our fridge door. The Naming and Shaming Fridge is Freddie's up-to-date opinion poll, tracking the relative popularity of different vegetables. Like many children, he isn't fond of the taste of bell peppers. So we started off with a simple Chicken and Pepper Wrap. The chicken and pepper strips were marinated for an hour in a teaspoon of mild chilli powder, 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger and one crushed garlic clove. Using a little cooking spray oil, I stir-fried the chicken and peppers in the wok and wrapped it in a tortilla. I didn't expect Freddie to fall in love with peppers but he did eat the wrap without complaints. He gave it 6 out of 10. The peppers were made to stay in the "I hate category" but I am feeling optimistic....