November 4, 2011 at 2:38 pm , by Louise Sloan
I’m sorry to report that was me, talking to my five-year-old son—not vice-versa.
Granted, I was a bit tired. It was the end of the day on a Sunday, after a weekend that was nonstop activity. Our last outing had been to a healthy food event at a local public school. My friend Jen is a big advocate of local and sustainable food, and she’d invited us to join her and her kids to the event, featuring a performance by her uncle Tom Chapin, a singer who was debuting his new kids’ album, Give Peas a Chance, all about healthy eating. There would be exhibitions about making veggie smoothies, composting and raising chickens in your backyard. I figured it would be a fun outing with good music (it was), the boys would have fun playing, and maybe Scott would learn stuff. But me? I’m already an adventurous eater, well-versed in healthy options, I thought. I read “Chick Lit,” this month’s LHJ article on backyard chickens. My mom’s been composting forever. I had nothing to learn.
Enter the radishes. (For more of the story and an easy recipe, read on.)
There was a small farmer’s market attached to the healthy food event, and some of the vendors had brought little two-burner stoves and were serving up tastes of cooked vegetables, to educate shoppers about serving options. “Are those radishes?”" I asked one farmer. Yes, and radish greens, sautéed in garlic and butter. I’d never heard of cooking a radish, and radish greens? Didn’t even realize they were edible. They were delicious. Well, shut my mouth—I was learning something. I bought a couple bunches of radishes, planning to recreate the dish at home, substituting olive oil for the butter. I couldn’t wait.
But my little chef had another idea. Scott’s current obsession is making soup. His first was carrot soup, his recipe: Carrots, water, a spoonful of sugar; blend. It was juice, really, but surprisingly good. Now he wanted to make radish soup. Honestly, at the end of a long weekend, it sounded totally foreign and frankly disgusting. I was feeling cranky and I wanted my sautéed radishes, which in my mind had suddenly become comfort food. I certainly didn’t want to try anything newer than that. So I told him no—and then realized, what am I saying? My five-year-old son wants to experiment with new ways of preparing vegetables, and I am trying to stop him?
I came to my senses and guided him, instead, suggesting we start with sautéeing the radishes and radish greens in olive oil with garlic and onion, then add chicken stock, then blend. I still had zero faith in the outcome, and we got into a little battle of wills because he wanted to add the broth immediately and I wanted to wait so I could have my sautéed radishes sans broth and he could take his portion and make the darn soup. Which, I told him, I really didn’t feel like having.
“Mommy, I try things,” he proclaimed, archly, as he poured chicken broth over the radishes in the blender. “And you don’t!” he added, with disgust, pushing the “on” button for emphasis. I couldn’t believe it. I’d worked hard to brainwash him with the idea that trying unfamiliar food is good. “In our family, we try things” is the mantra. And now the little rat was using my own lecture against me! “Of course I’ll try it,” I assured him. “I just don’t want a lot of it.”
So I tried it. Guess what? It wasn’t just good, it was amazing. Kind of like a cross between watercress and zucchini, only more flavorful. Forget the sautéed radishes; I wanted more radish soup. We took my carefully reserved, broth-free portion and tossed it right into the blender.
Maybe next he’ll take my “go green” philosophy and use that against me, too, forcing me to stop using so many paper towels (I admit, I can’t give up my addiction). It’s like having an auxiliary conscience.
Have you had your kids keep you in line, pointing out where you’re failing to live up to your own Mommy lectures? I’d love to hear your stories.
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