I still remember the first time my mom served me Brussels sprouts. I poked the soggy lumps of green on my plate and tried to figure out if I could lure one of the dogs under the table, which is, let’s be honest, the very best reason to have a family dog.
For some reason, while I was growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, vegetables were served in two forms: soggy or raw. I’d have thought it was just my mom’s cooking but when I went to friends’ houses, it was the same thing. The choice was crisp fresh vegetables dipped in ranch or overcooked masses covered in butter.
It took me years to try Brussels sprouts again. When I did, I was blown away by the flavor. They’d been tossed lightly with olive oil, salt, and pepper and then roasted with slivered almonds until the tips were a delicious caramelized golden brown. They were sweet and savory at the same time and so scrumptious, I immediately added them to my weekly menu when they’re in season.
There’s a difference when vegetables are lightly steamed, retaining their brilliant hues and when they’re boiled to death. There’s a difference between slimy bits of vegetables and flavorful roasted jewels.
My children are lucky that the greens and oranges, purples and yellows that grace their plates are full of flavor, al dente, and only lightly seasoned.
Someone needs to tell them that.
Because still, after nearly seven years of motherhood, getting them to eat their vegetables is the most common and grueling task I face.
It’s enough to make me want to boil some spinach to limp sliminess and let them taste the difference.