What’s this? A healthy food holiday tucked in amongst all the desserts this month?! Be still my heart! (Or, more accurately, keep beating). June 17 is National Eat Your Vegetables Day!
After a plethora of pies and a crapload of cakes, has broccoli ever looked so beautiful? Peas so pleasing? Spinach so scrumptious? Chances are, you’ll only appreciate this holiday if you’re a grownup. Kids tend to dislike veggies, and as a youngster, I was no exception. There were a few vegetables I didn’t mind. Corn, for starters, but isn’t that pretty universal? Corn hardly “counts” as a veggie. I did always appreciate canned spinach and peas, and never minded green beans or asparagus, but there was one vegetable I hated with a passion and avoided at all costs.
I was not alone in my contempt for this relative of the cabbage with the flowery head and the tough stalk. Show me a kid who says he or she likes broccoli, and I’ll call that person a liar. Former President George Bush Sr. famously declared a hatred for broccoli, and I’m convinced that’s the one and only reason I voted for him in 1988. (That was the only time I ever voted for a Republican President in my life. Can’t be a coincidence). For me, the texture as much as the taste turned my stomach. Those little flowery pieces on top always seemed to get stuck in my throat and make me gag.
And then, a funny thing happened. I started to not mind broccoli so much. I think this started out slowly. A spoonful of broccoli cheddar soup here, a random floret that accidentally got impaled on my fork when I was eating broccoli beef there. One day, I discovered I could eat it without gagging. Before long, I found I actually liked the flavor. I still don’t know how that happened. I know our tastes “mature” as we age, but I’ve never started liking watermelon or cauliflower. Broccoli, on the other hand, is delicious. Some people cover it in butter or drown it in cheese. I feel like that’s cheating. Tara steams hers with chicken broth instead of water, and it’s fantastic.
For National Eat Your Vegetables Day, we had to celebrate with broccoli. It was wonderful!