Hope for the Vegetably Challenged


Eat your vegetables, Mom always said. They’re good for you! 

No doubt, Mom was right. Vegetables serve 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 layered atop a juicy half-pound cheeseburger, sprinkled on a double-stuffed sausage pizza, or drowning in creamy mushroom soup and crispy dried onions.

Vain Efforts

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. Unfortunately, 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. She recalls fond childhood memories when her father refused to set a good example by eating the vegetables her mother served for dinner. Indeed, he could not abide canned green beans smothered in plain low-fat yogurt. Yuck! Who could blame him? 

Bowing to health-conscious peer pressure, my wife always looks for new and creative ways to prepare vegetables that are palatable to both us. This proves to be no easy feat, given her childhood issues and my snackoisseur preferences.

Recipe for Success

However, I gotta admit that she created a great veggie recipe that we both genuinely like. Granted it’s not as enticing as a Chinese take-out feast, but it makes us feel less guilty at mealtime. Here is her simple, low-cal recipe for a chilled summer salad, containing no mayonnaise which can spoil in the 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.

Still Vegetably Challenged

All of this leads to a more profound 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 very simple answer is that bad stuff tastes good. Please see this detailed treatise on the science related to human food preference

For now, I plan to dig into a heaping serving of my wife’s healthy veggie salad along with a sloppy Italian beef sandwich and salty French fries smothered in cheese sauce.

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