One of the phrases most closely associated with a mom, i.e., “Eat your vegetables,” did not get mentioned in any Facebook post, sales ad or TV commercial for Mother’s Day that I saw. Raise your adult hand if you took this occasion to thank your mom for making your eat veggies so you could grow up to be big and strong. No? Still secretly harboring resentment against your mom for having to choke down servings of vile veggies?

Give your mom a break. Things could have been a great deal worse. How so, you ask? Well, apparently there are way more veggies out there than we were originally led to believe. I spotted an item in a recent issue of a popular woman’s magazine encouraging readers to take part in a challenge to eat 30 veggies in 30 days.  THIRTY vegetables?

The challenge for me would start early on in the process.  I was unable to come up with thirty different vegetables when I sat down to make a list.  The best I could do was twenty-four, and that number involved a great deal of brain-wracking to achieve.  Try it, I dare you.  Can you come up with thirty?

Had we known there were this many veggies in existence when we were growing up, that category of food would have been considered even more vile.  In all honesty, I did not have a big issue with eating my veggies.  With the exception of Brussels sprouts, I was pretty much OK with consuming the veggies Mom put before me.  And, as I recall, those were served rarely.  But I was not your typical child; veggie eating was a bigger hurdle for some of my contemporaries than for me.

When I grew up to be a mom myself, I had to snicker when “Veggie Tales,” a series of animated children’s films, became popular.  In my opinion, talking, singing and dancing vegetables were more likely to traumatize children than to entertain them.  But apparently the kiddos have no trouble watching veggies prance about; it is when you try to get them to put the veggies in your mouth when you encounter difficulties.

Actually, we all have veggie tales to tell.  Pick a vegetable, any vegetable.  Certainly you have a story associated with that vegetable if it is a fairly common one. .  Let’s take potatoes for example.  When I was growing up, having grilled steak and baked potatoes was a big family event.  I loved to put butter on my baked potato and watch it melt.  I enjoyed this diversion so much that my baked potatoes were literally swimming in melted butter when I quit playing and started eating them.  Obviously, cholesterol was no a concern for me back in those days.

Cabbage also evokes fond memories for me.  My dad could not stand cabbage, but my mom and I loved eating boiled cabbage.  When my Dad was gone one summer to work on his doctorate, Mom and I frequently ate cabbage.  We had to get our fill in before Dad returned home and cabbage was banned from the menu.

The favorite vegetable for my family has to be broccoli.  My dad was not a fan of broccoli either.  He took great delight in pointing out to the rest of the family that even President George H.W. Bush did not like broccoli as if his aversion to that green veggie cleared the path to the White House for him.  My mom found a recipe for broccoli puff that won Dad over.  He would eat broccoli in that form, and no holiday dinner in our house was ever complete without that dish being served.

I passed this love of broccoli on down to my own children.  When my son was off at college, we would sometimes take a road trip to visit him.  I would call and ask if there was any food he wanted me to bring him.  You think a college student might ask for cookies or sweets.  But no, my son asked his dear mother to bring him broccoli puff.  My daughter was assured that she had found the perfect husband when her spouse, an Army officer, would specifically request that she prepare broccoli puff for him upon his return from the field.

And who doesn’t love a tale about a love affair?  I have been enamored of spinach for years.  Perhaps my name should be Alice Oyl because Popeye and I would get along great.  I could eat my weight in spinach.  My favorite spinach dish makes me recall a wonderful potluck with a favorite church group where I got this recipe.–add (lots of) butter,  heat and top with garlic salt and Parmesan cheese.  Forget vile veggies–this spinach dish is heavenly.

Mom may no longer be around to tell me to eat my veggies, but I have the doctor to tell me that no.  I don’t need to grow big and strong, but I do need to keep myself in good health to enjoy my adult life.  What’s the prescription for that?  VIVA LAS VEGGIES!









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