Thursday, March 15, 2007

Persistence and Kale

There is a most profound duality that resides in the psyche of our toddlers. Their little attention spans spring from one thing to the next so quickly. One minute you have your child focused on helping get dressed, the next thing you know, the clothes are off and she's running naked after the cat brandishing salad tongs.

And yet. Yet. This same child will persist incomparably in asking you the same question a hundred times if needed to hear the answer she wants.

"More cracker?'
"No. All gone."
"No. Sorry."
"No, more honey."
"More cracker?"
"No more cracker."

And so on. Until you crack. You think, why has she not taken salad tongs or a stray meat fork and run after the family pet by now? For a moment I consider handing her the nearest kitchen utensil and pointing at the cat peacefully sleeping on the couch. For a moment. The cat has been through enough.

This is why, in my recent posts on parents' role in our children's diets, the persistence part made sense. Yes, it can take fourteen times to get a new food introduced. What was the other study? Ah, yes, ten times a day with red pepper. Makes sense. Repetition.

I have to say, I am still a bit gun shy post-spinach-incident on raw leafy greens until my local market in spring. All these dishes cook the greens.

So, with The Battle of Orange Food behind us, I am now applying my newfound information to the vegetable type that fewer than ten percent of kids age 1-5 consume — leafy greens. So far, I am doing well. Three recipes in, two tried, one has become a favorite.

A couple you have seen in the recipe index (the theme IS persistence) and one is new. There will be more leafy greens. Count on it. And get your salad tongs ready.

Kale Chips

Garlicky white beans and kaleSauteed Red Chard with Clementine Sections, Feta, and Balsamic Reduction

Looking for these recipes? They will be part of a book co-authored with Ali at Cleaner Plate Club!

Okay, the nutrition series will continue, but I needed a quick recipe break. The next post in that series will be cover peers, schools, and outside influences on your child's diet.


Willa said...

Well, there are no children here, but I can't wait to try the garlicky white beans and kale. And the kale chips. Heck, and the chard! Leafy greens are a new taste treat for me this year, and I have really been enjoying them.
Too bad I have to settle for supermarket kale. Next year, I'll have my own!


The Expatriate Chef said...

Thanks! I hope the recipe works out for you. Glad you stopped by!

Elizabeth said...

This was wonderful. I usually HATE kale and am so glad to toss it although it makes me wince due to the cost. The hubby and I ate seconds of this and our toddler ate it straight from the serving bowl....yummy! I emailed the recipe, with my changes to other family members who would appreciate it. I used 4 cloves garlic and drained/rinsed the beans and subbed an equal amount of chicken stock for the bean liquid. Delicious!!

Anonymous said...

I never would have thought to bake kale, but my 4 year old, Miss Wants-Everything-With-Ketchup-Or-Maple-Syrup loves it!

Expatriate Chef said...

It's amazing, but yet the little ones love this.

Lady Thought said...

I've made the crispy kale (with the addition of 1 tsp apple cider vinegar to the oil...yum!) and my toddlers love it. LOVE kale! Can't wait to try the kale with white beans, i'm looking for ways to eat more beans/less meat.