veggie toddler - a young child learning how to walk and eat vegetables, not necessarily a wobbly vegetarian.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I’ve Tried Something New: ARTICHOKE

I purchased one artichoke from the produce department of the grocery store. I looked online about how to cook and eat a fresh artichoke. (I needed a refresher course!)

I basically followed the online cooking instructions but made a few of my own tweaks:

1. Rinse artichoke in cold water.

2. Cut end of artichoke off with a knife. Clip sharp edges of other leaves with a scissor.

3. Place some water in a quart-sized pot. Add 1 lemon slice and 1 bay leaf and 1 artichoke. Steam/parboil covered for about 15 minutes.

4. Drain and let cool, removing lemon and bay leaf.

I cooked the artichoke when I had a few minutes to dabble in the kitchen between morning activities and then put it in the refrigerator for later. When I put dinner on the table for myself and the kids, I decided now might be a good time to introduce the artichoke. I warmed up the artichoke in the microwave to take off its refrigerated chill and then said to my kids, “Guess what guys, I have something new for you to taste tonight.”

“Really?” my 3-year-old said, excited for a surprise.

“What is it?” my 5-year-old said, unable to take the suspense.

I brought the artichoke and a small bowl of balsamic, olive oil vinaigrette to the table and said, “this is an artichoke.”

The artichoke’s arrival to the table was met with “ooos” and “ahhhhs” as both kids leaned over to get a closer look. I told them to watch me. I peeled off a petal, dipped it in the dressing and then scraped off the soft part with my teeth and discard the leaf. They watched intently as my 5-year-old started tearing off petals immediately on her own. She dipped and scraped and gave a funny look. After a short pause, she said, “yummy!” and went in for another. My 5-year-old totally accepted the petal dipping and scraping and worked her way through the leaves one by one. My 3-year-old, on the other hand, was much more cautious. Finally he decided to try it. But once he scraped the artichoke into his mouth, he too gave a funny look. This look ended with him spitting the chewed up artichoke into the dressing bowl. Why he chose the dipping bowl as a place for unwanted, already chewed up food is beyond me. And so I made a fresh bowl of dressing for dipping so my 5-year-old and I could continue to tear apart the artichoke.

When we finished with the petals, I told them to look at the heart of the artichoke. I scraped off the prickly things and sliced the heart up into bite-sized pieces for dipping. My 5-year-old took one of the pieces, dipped it in dressing and ate it. Then she picked up her cup very quickly and gulped down some milk. “Mommy,” she said, “I only like the petals.”

“That’s okay,” I said. “What about you?” I turned toward my 3-year-old. He was already partially under the table and shook his head no. Fair enough.

Artichoke: 2 of 2 kids tasted it, 1 of 2 said "yummy."  Not bad.


Julie said...

Nice!!!! One day they'll BOTH realize how awesome it is, I hope - particularly the heart!!! Probably if you gave them butter to dip it in, they each gobble it up...ah, butter.

What's the next experimental veggie? Maybe that's the key - make a new thing every week or two so they anticipate it coming? I have no idea what I'm talking about but...

Rosalie said...

Yes, Yes! Although the plan is not only to try new veggies but any new food that the kids don't usually eat or even a new combination of favorite foods.

Butter...yes that's a great idea!

I did serve artichoke a second time this week and my daughter again went crazy with excitement. She was even explaining about it to her friend. No luck with the heart, but it's a start! My son took a couple tastes so that's also moving in the right direction.