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Enticing veg for children

Posted by Dawn Isaac on 22 Jan 2010 at 01:31 PM

For the entire summer of 1990 all I ate was toasted cheese sandwiches.  I tell you this, not as part of my audition for Freaky Eaters (a classic BBC3 offering that makes me seriously question how the licence fee is spent) but as an indication of quite how dull my eating habits can be.

Not only is this slightly embarrassing, but I have worried for a while that I may be passing on my bad habits.  Thankfully, a long-run war of attrition has meant that my elder two children are getting slightly better at trying new tastes. Archie, however... that's a different matter. 

The accepted wisdom is that a child will start to eat something after they've tried it about 15 times.  Archie is turning this theory on his head.  He'll eat something about 15 times - just enough to lull you into a false sense of security - before adamantly rejecting it in the manner of someone believing themselves the target of poisoners.

It really doesn't help that I currently have on the table yesterday's Evening Standard where my friend Viv has written a wonderful article on Nick Coffer and his son - aged two - who create and share dishes such as linguine with a crayfish and dill sauce (I kid you not) and post up the resulting videos on their blog - My Daddy Cooks.  And the name of this mini super chef? Archie, of course. I can almost feel them mocking me with every bite of their chicken tarragon stew...

Still, I am fighting back with my weapon of choice - the garden.  This year I am attempting to grow veg that will simply be too interesting to resist.  I enlisted Ava and Oscar in the task of choosing our ammunition and I have to say, they did a pretty good job.  Of course, the resulting crops might look great but fall down on taste (a bit like David Beckam in that sarong) but it's got to be worth a go.

Our chosen seeds include:

Carrot 'Purple Haze' - purple on the outside, orange inside

Carrot 'Parmex' - circular, bite-sized carrots

'Baugilde' climbing bean - dark purple pods

Cucumber 'Cucino' - mini-cucumbers

Aubergine 'Calliope' - cream-streaked purple fruit

Cabbage 'Kalibos' - red pointed cabbage

Onion 'Cipollini Yellow' - small, flat-shaped bulbs

Swiss chard 'Bright Lights' - rainbow coloured stems

Of course, the big test will be if Archie actually eats any of them - the bigger test is whether I do.  After all, it takes a lot to better a toasted cheese sandwich.

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