Some more, please: Patch to plate – a nutritional tale

2011-07-29 11:16

Fifteen minutes – that’s the shortest time between veggie patch and plate I have managed so far.

My guess – it’s a record, or pretty close to one.

I planted my veggie garden give or take 10 weeks ago and nothing happened for what seemed like ages. Then, after a bit of warm winter weather, hey presto, the florets of cauliflower and broccoli started to peep out.

The spinach unfurled in dark green sails that look as healthy as they are delicious.

It’s just the cabbage and strawberries that are lagging behind. What a rush! The feeling of growing some of my own food is fantastic.

I didn’t grow veggies for my benefit – nutritional or otherwise – but for the toddler.

The idea is that she learns where food comes from. And by food I mean the stuff that hasn’t been fiddled with in a factory.

You know that awful food product supermarkets try to sell to her with pictures of Barney the Dinosaur, Dora the Explorer, Winnie the Pooh and Barbie emblazoned on it to trick the little ones into wanting it.

The yogurt flavours are so fake even a two-year-old can tell they aren’t food and as for the cheese thingies that are bright orange (that’s just wrong) and the teeth-rotting fruit juices, ugh.

So, back to that 15 minutes.

The toddler and I went to the veggie garden, selected a broccoli head that was just the right size for picking (she applauded as we plucked it off the stem), she carried it back to the kitchen, rinsed it in cold water and then we popped it in the steamer.

Ten minutes later it was bright green and just tender – I put it on her plate along with her favourite salmon fishcake and some peas.

The broccoli was wolfed down first – her little body, free from the confusing messages chucked at her from every angle at the supermarket, knew where to find real nutrition on her plate.

I know, you are thinking I should wipe the smug look off my face – it’s a fluke. Hah, it’s not, I repeated the experiment four times this week and even when hot chips are the broccoli’s plate mate, the green stuff still wins.

» Follow me on Twitter @GayleMahala

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