When I was growing up one neither heard nor wanted to hear of vegans and vegetarians and now it is the latest rage. It should be noted that those were the days when cigarette commercials were still on television and smoking was considered the sophisticated thing to do. Maybe it is because I grew up in that era, but when I see the advertisements about children actually enjoying vegetables, I have to wonder what planet they came from.
Again, those were different days than the ones we live in now. Those were the days of the casseroles with canned vegetables that had that residual taste of the can from which they came. Could you imagine a cooking show today trying to grill canned asparagus? What went into the can were the parts that TV Chefs tell us to break off and throw away! I know because I spent many an evening left at the table until I chewed those tough stalks of stringy fiber. Who can forget what mothers used to try to do to spinach to make it appear pleasing, only to discover it tasted like the same old stuff that not even the propaganda from Popeye cartoons could overcome. Those were the days of meat and potatoes, but not vegetables!
Because we were made to stay at the table until our vegetables were eaten, many and various schemes were devised as to how avoid eating them. Pets proved to be unreliable because they had a tendency to carry the vegetables into the room where my parents were waiting and try to eat them there on the floor causing an unending chain of consequences that lasted sometimes for days, from my mother being extremely upset that we did not like her cooking to corporal punishment meted out by my father. The most effective means of disposing of the dreaded fare other than when we were forced to eat them came with the invention of the napkin. Barely our parents’ heads were turned before the napkin was full and in the trash can. And since we were supposed to take out the garbage each night anyway, it proved to be a fairly fail safe idea until it was noticed we were doing our chores without being told and it was figured out why.
Because my own kids behaved very similarly, I still wonder sometimes about vegetables. I guess it must be genetic.