Eat your vegetables, Mom always said. They’re good for you!
No doubt Mom was right. Vegetables are a crucial part of a healthy diet. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and densely packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
Okay, I have to confess. The only vegetables that I eat without protest are the ones layered atop a juicy half-pound cheeseburger, sprinkled on a double-stuffed sausage pizza, or drowning in a casserole of creamy mushroom soup and crispy dried onions.
With the best of intentions, my wife frequently buys broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts, but they often wind up in the garbage after rotting unused in the refrigerator. Truth be told, she dislikes vegetables even more than I do. Still plagued by childhood memories of gagging on lima beans or spitting spinach into a napkin before sneaking it into the garbage, she continues to be “vegetably challenged.” One of her funniest childhood memories was when her father refused to set a good example by eating the vegetables her mother served for dinner. Evidently, he could no longer abide canned green beans smothered in plain low-fat yogurt. Yuck! Who could blame him?
Bowing to health-conscious peer pressure, my wife is always looking for new and creative ways to prepare vegetables that are palatable to both us — not an easy feat given her childhood issues and my snackoisseur preferences.
However, I gotta admit that she created a great veggie recipe that we both actually like. Granted it’s not as enticing as a Chinese take-out feast, but it makes us feel less guilty at meal time. Here is her easy, low-cal recipe for a chilled summer salad, containing no mayonnaise which can spoil in summer heat.
One 1-pound bag of fresh, riced cauliflower.
One large diced (peeled or unpeeled) cucumber.
Two 12-oz jars of Trader Joe’s Bruschetta (add to taste).
Mix and chill overnight.
All of this leads to a deeper question. Why do we humans relish the junk food that isn’t good for us, but only tolerate the healthier fare that is good for us? We notice the same phenomenon in our three cats. They gobble with gusto their cheap, unhealthy treats, but turn their noses in disdain at the pricey, healthy fare of salmon and vegetables — more food that ends up in the garbage.
The answer, very simply, is the bad stuff just tastes good. For a detailed treatise on the science related to this topic of human food preference, please see https://jamesclear.com/junk-food-science.
For now, I plan to dig into a nice, heaping serving of my wife’s healthy veggie salad along with a sloppy Italian beef sandwich and salty French fries smothered in cheese sauce.