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  • Getting to Green

    An administrator pushes, on a shoestring budget, to move his university and the world toward a more sustainable equilibrium.

Not just desserts
July 8, 2010 - 8:31pm

Part of getting students/kids/people interested in their food is having food that's interesting. And part of using fruits and veg as tempters is using them -- particularly the fruits, in my experience -- where they're not entirely expected.

Even in kitchens where actual cooking occurs, often "dinner" is defined as meat, a starch, and a token green veg, followed (optionally) by dessert. Having two green veg would be considered radical, as would having no meat. Mrs. R. and I fairly rarely have adults over for dinner, but our kids have very often had friends (often, multiple friends) stop by the house right around 5:30 or 5:45 pm and then hang around as long as it takes. Sometimes the visit is known ahead of time; sometimes, we just add a salad or some such and portion everything a bit smaller.

It's the "salad or some such" that can get interesting. Provocative, if not truly radical. Fruity, perhaps insouciant, definitely not ostentatious. Because one of our rules of thumb is that any reasonable combination of fresh fruit, with a touch of salt, pepper and maybe some herbs, constitutes a salad. Apples -- pretty much our only fresh winter-time fruit, although we generally can a few others -- get dressed up more, just because otherwise they can get boring after a couple or three months. But peaches, plums, cherries, apricots, pears, grapes, citrus of various varieties, melons, pretty much anything else becomes "salad" with just a little bit of seasoning -- certainly, nothing most folks would consider "dressing". I prefer to mix one fruit that's more sweet with one that's more tart -- kind of like blending the flavors for a good barbecue sauce, but without the vinegar. Mrs. R. tends to work more with combinations of sweet tastes, and then sometimes add a dash of lime juice to take the edge off.

The kids seem to like it. A number of them have mentioned reporting it back to their parents, although I have no idea whether any of those parents have had a go at it. But anything that gets people thinking differently -- or even thinking positively at all -- about what they, and we, and all of us eat is (to my mind) a step in the right direction.


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