Sunday, May 23, 2010

Let Us Eat Lettuce

You might not have guessed this from my previous few posts, but Duncan is actually a pretty good eater. He eats more vegetables than most adults I know. While his favorites remain the basics (green beans, peas, corn, tomatoes), he has been willing to try almost any vegetable we have plated for him. Among others he has eaten willingly are:  broccoli, brussels sprouts, asparagus, sweet potatoes, raw carrots, celery (with peanut butter), fennel, snow peas, radishes, celeriac, beets, broccoli raab, eggplant, arugula, and turnips). He's not fond of red or green pepper or those mini corns that come in cans. He was wise enough not to touch swiss chard, spinach, or any of the other greens that made their way into our lives last summer, but I can live with that. To my chagrin, the vegetable he adamantly refused to eat, however, was lettuce. Considering the number of salads we made with our Chubby Bunny yield last summer, it was frustrating. Any time we made salad, we had to come up with another vegetable for him. Because lettuce is a key ingredient in salad, he wouldn't try any other kind of salad; no egg salad, no tuna salad, no potato salad. Lettuce, for goodness sake. Who doesn't eat lettuce?

Last weekend we were out in the yard, and Duncan discovered a "volunteer" lettuce growing in our as-yet-unseeded vegetable patch. "Is this lettuce, Mama?" he asked. "I want to try some." I ripped off a piece, blew off the dust, and handed it to him. "I LIKE lettuce!" he exclaimed. For the first time, Duncan ate salad last night when we were at Four Brothers, and he had another tonight with dinner. Periodically, he comes into the kitchen and asks "Can I have a lettuce?" Or even cuter, "Can Daddy and I split a lettuce?" I can't argue with a kid who wants to eat lettuce right out of the refrigerator.  Or the ground, for that matter.

Various statistics say a child may need to be offered a new food 10, 15, or even as many as 20 times before he will eat it. If you have a finicky kid, or a passion for a less-than-everyday vegetable, or a CSA membership that sends you home weekly with unfamiliar produce, keep trying. You just never know if today might be the day that your child will eat kohlrabi.  Or lettuce.
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