Uploaded by Tatiana Kolesnikova

IGCSE English Language

TASK: Read Please Stop Trying to Sneak Vegetables into Your Kids’ Food,
an online article written by Janet Rausa Fuller.
Please Stop Trying to Sneak Vegetables into Your Kids' Food
By Janet Rausa Fuller4162
Dinuguan is a Filipino stew of pork cooked in pig's blood, but my parents
and the parents of every Filipino-American kid I knew growing up in the
'80s called it—wink-wink—chocolate soup.
This was presumably for our benefit. Had we been told the real reason why
dinuguan looked so murky, we wouldn't have come near it and therefore
wouldn't have known how delicious (according to the adults) it was.
Obviously, this was a flawed strategy. Innards cooked in blood smell and
taste nothing like chocolate. I was no fool.
There are many ways to get kids to eat a food like offal or broccoli with
minimum resistance. You can think up a fun nickname. Camouflage it
under cheese or a sauce or a cheesy sauce. Finagle it in by way of purée.
Bread and deep-fry it. You can deflect the "What is this?" question by asking
an unrelated question like "How was school today?" or flat out lie when
asked if the potentially offensive food is in whatever it is they're eating.
I'm a parent. I get it. Would I have been eager to try dinuguan had my
parents been forthcoming about it from the start? Hell no. But I already
knew something was up. Kids are smart. Why try to trick them?
The covert hiding-vegetables-in-dishes strategy, upon which cookbook
empires have been built, is, to me, especially problematic. We all want our
kids to eat and enjoy as much and as wide a variety of produce as possible. I
take no issue with boosting the nutrient content of a dish with added
vegetables. But how will kids know which veggies they like if they don't
know which ones they're eating?
When you make, say, cauliflower "mac and cheese" and pass it off as the
standard, your kids aren't learning to appreciate cauliflower on its own (and
on its own, simple roasted cauliflower is super tasty, as my daughters will
concur). Future attempts to get them to try the unadorned vegetable
might be met with protest, or they might confront you about why your mac
and cheese tastes different from the boxed stuff they had at their friend
Sadie's sleepover.
By being sneaky with certain foods, you're assuming your kid won't like
them. But kids are weird and unpredictable. They go through phases. They
might detest Brussels sprouts the first and fifteenth time they try them, but
then, without warning, decide they like them after all. They might take one
bite and love them. They might live out the rest of their days feeling neutral,
like Belgium itself. That's fine, too. Let them figure it out. You might be
pleasantly surprised.
I once made the mistake of making pasta with kale pesto for my girls and
calling it Shrek Pasta. I wasn't trying to trick them per se. They'd had kale
before. I guess I thought I was being clever. Anyway, they were so disgusted
by the image of a ground-up ogre, they barely touched their lunch. That
was the first and last time I referred to a food or dish as anything other than
its given name. But I also never stopped making pesto, which, fortunately,
my girls now love slathered on fish and chicken breast. Phew.
It's all about full disclosure. Let's call foods what they are. Tell the kids there's
butternut squash in the lasagna and spinach in the muffins, and then get
out of the way so their palate and sense of curiosity about what they're
eating can develop.
Not every dish will be a hit. Then again, they might find that making
chocolate pudding with avocados is a cool trick and, bonus, something they
can make themselves.
One day, they might even give "chocolate soup" a chance and realize that
over a big bowl of rice, it's actually delicious.