Visit Camana Bay’s weekly Farmers & Artisans Market on any Wednesday and you’ll find a cornucopia of vegetable delights. Those fresh, crisp veggies sure aren’t what I remember while growing up.
I remember poking away at cold boiled broccoli, a rebellious glitter in my eyes as my father yelled, “Just eat the darn stuff and you’ll live longer.”
A group of delightful 3- to 5-year-olds who were prepared to discuss the question, “What is your favourite vegetable?”
Now older, with mind and palate broadened, I’ve discovered that not only are vegetables good for you, but they are versatile, too. Take beets; according to the internet, you can use them to add a lovely (temporary) reddish tint to your hair without using chemicals. A word of caution: Many years ago I read about grating beets, adding them to yoghurt and smearing them on your face to give you a lovely (temporary) pink tint to your cheeks. I tried it and got pink all right; I broke out in a pink rash that lasted days.
It was armed with such knowledge that I showed up at Village Montessori at Camana Bay’s Starfish Village. Miss Courtney had rounded up a group of delightful 3- to 5-year-olds who were prepared to discuss the question, “What is your favourite vegetable?” It was a tight race, but cucumbers won.
Malcolm, 5, loved them but was currently having a bit of trouble with a loose tooth and was chewing carefully. Neve, 4, had developed a snacking system for them: dark green bits first, then light and then the seeds. Dean, 4, not only liked them, but had expanded his taste to pickles.
Dean also confessed to a penchant for carrots along with his pal Bugs Bunny. Isabella, 4, whose mom cut them up so nicely for her, liked carrots raw so she could nibble them, just like a rabbit. Carrots, declared little Gia, were not only a very nice colour, but eating them would also help her grow tall which, when one was only 3 years old amidst others who were 4 and 5, was an important consideration.
Corn was another favourite, loved by Raahil, 4, who was quite fond of the colour; Ruby, 4, who liked it on the cob with butter; and Logan, 5, who confessed to liking it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. His toothless smile was not, however, the result of a bite of corn, but rather an encounter with chocolate, which is not a vegetable, but something he felt really should be counted on any favourites list.
Time was running out when at last Miss Courtney expressed concern that no one had talked about greens. Greens. Their mention here brought my old childhood memories back.
But trust the child to cure the mind. Makai, 4, declared that spinach was just fine on his pizza. And finally Elijah, 3, lifted on his tiptoes to shyly whisper in my ear, “I like broccoli on my pizza.” If only my old dad had been so creative.
Faye Lippitt is the author of “16 Chickens on a Trampoline” and the children’s book “The Great Caribbean Chicken Caper.” Next month Faye will ask children to give their views on Easter.