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September 18, 2006

Veggie U

Hands-on learning is a great way to get kids excited about food, where it comes from, and how to eat healthy. Growing up, we were given seeds for tomato plants, cucumber, etc. I enjoyed watching my mom’s tomato plants grow, and then savouring the tasty fruit when it ripened. In the fall, we picked granny smith apples from the old tree (RIP). Now the effort to curb obesity in the United States has produced some juicy, fun education. Ohio farm family teaches kids nutrition

Mmm… carrot cake… ahem.

Eleven-year-old Timothy Thomas, of Norwalk, carefully seasoned his fish with salt and pepper, but he wasn’t too sure about adding strips of zucchini and squash. “I’m a picky, picky eater,” he said.

Still, he enjoyed learning about vegetables. “It’s cool to see where it comes from,” he said.

(That makes me think about the detachment between where fruits & vegetables actually come from, and where we acquire them. The grocery store has absolutely nothing to do with the farm, or my mom’s tomato plants in the back yard.)

My little 10-month-old niece will GROWL and BEG for blueberries when she’s hungry. On the weekend, while watching the rest of us start to eat, she grabbed a green bean from mommy’s plate and proceeded to chomp on it. She loves baby carrots, too.

When we had pizza day in elementary school, we had the choice between plain cheese or pepperoni & cheese. I didn’t like pepperoni, so I went for the plain cheese. I *wanted* vegetables. My favourite pizza was Little Caesar’s square (SQUARE!) vegetarian pizza.

My high school had some healthy choices, definitely, and Emily Carr Institute has plenty. Our vending machines, of course, still sell pop and candy and other nasty stuff. It’s actually kind of sad what the pricing schemes are as well… but I figured out the best bang for yer buck is a chocolate cookie from the machine in the South Building. I’d rather do that than have chips… they’re so useless.

Okay, okay, so when Student Services did their annual meet-and-greet in the lobby with their prize entry and candy rewards, I helped myself to a little Swiss milk chocolate tab, some gumdrop Dots, and a raspberry Tootsie roll. And when the Student’s Union did it in the first week, I grabbed a green apple lollipop. So sue me. But candy is really gross… chocolate is awesome… but hard candies after awhile just make my mouth feel HORRIBLE and my tummy, too. I’d much rather revel in a tasty, juicy summer fruit. (Time to buy some more grapes… I think the season ends soon?)

Last night I made a good dinner for my sweetie pie when he came home from a long day at work. Aren’t I a good wife. This is great practice for me, actually. Inspired by my new cookbook I got for $28 on sale at a Net Loft shop on Granville Island, I made potato wedges in the oven. And… they turned out GREAT! The potatoes I used are from my boyfriend’s granddad’s vegetable patch, and they’re good. YUM. I combined the wedges with some chicken drumsticks with bits of red & yellow pepper, and some broccoli with cheese. I felt proud.

Please leave a comment with me if you’d like the recipe for these yummy potatoes. Man, if McDonald’s actually did this… the last time I had their fries, they had less flavour and texture than dirt. And they were incredibly thin. Maybe that’s just how they do it in Seattle.