Once in a while we hit a homerun with our mystery food challenge. And who would have thunk that it would be with a vegetable that I’ve never tried before. I’ve bought kohlrabi on occasion, only to let it wilt and die in the vegetable crisper – it’s one of those vegetables that sent me into a mild panic: do I eat it raw? Should it be cooked? But we’ve been now been eating kohlrabi as part of our regular vegetable rotation, and if you haven’t tried it yet, promise me that you’ll give it a go…

ME: Guys.  What is this called?

LAUREN: Cabbage.

ME: It actually looks like red cabbage, doesn’t it but it’s not.  Do you want to feel it?  Actually, you’ve been touching peanut butter.  Don’t touch it.  Do you want to feel it with like the side of your nose?

SAM:  No.

LAUREN: Ooooh.  It looks like —

ME: Yeah, with the side of your nose.

SAM: OK (feels it with his nose).

ME: Did it feel like cabbage from the side of your nose? Look, Lauren’s feeling it on her nose, too.

LAUREN: It’s a little rough; a little rough and smooth at the same time.

ME: Does it smell like anything?

LAUREN: Yummy. Is it a vegetable?

ME: It is a vegetable.  Do you want to smell it Sam?

LAUREN: Was it in your CSA?

ME: No it wasn’t in my CSA.  I bought it at the store.  It’s called Kohlrabi.  Isn’t that cool?  Have you ever heard that before? 

LAUREN: It’s called Kohlrabi?

SAM: It’s called Cool Rodney?

ME: What do you think it’s going to look like on the inside?

LAUREN: It’s going to be green.

ME: It is green on the inside.  That’s right!

LAUREN: I saw you cutting it.

ME: Oh, you cheated then. 

ME: Ok.  So I’m cutting all this thick purple skin off and then what we can do is — you can eat the inside; you can eat it either raw or you can eat it cooked.

LAUREN: Raw please.

ME: So, we’re going to try it raw, because you guys seem to like our food better when it’s raw than cooked. Why is that?

ME: Ok, here it is. You want to take a bite?

LAUREN: Yummy.

ME: Yeah.

EMMA: Yummy.  More please.

ME: Sam, you’ve got to try it.  Everyone’s saying, ‘yummy, more please.’

LAUREN: Yummy, more please.  Yummy, more please. [sing-song]

ME: Sam, everyone’s saying, ‘yummy, more please.’  Can you believe that?

LAUREN: More please.

EMMA: Yummy.

ME: Sam, want to try what everyone’s saying, ‘yummy, more please’ to?

LAUREN: More please.

[Sam tasting]

ME: Good, right?  What do you think, Sam? Do you want more?

LAUREN: Yummy, more please.

SAM: Yeah.

ME: Do you agree, ‘yummy, more please’?

SAM: [nodding head]

ME: Yeah?  There you go.  He nodded.  He said, ‘yes’!

SAM: Or ‘gross, garbage please.’

[everyone laughs]

ME: So what do you guys think?  Do we get Kohlrabi again?  It was kind of amazing, right?

LAUREN: More please.

ME: Sam, you want more too?

SAM: [nods head]

ME: Yeah?  Emma, you want more too? 

SAM: [nods head]

ME: Ok.  Cool.  That was a total success. 



I bought some sunflower micro greens at the store recently and was impressed by how much the greens really do taste like sunflower seeds. If you dug around a little in the greens, you could also find tiny premature black seeds that were starting to develop. I thought the kids would love these greens, but sometimes you just pick the wrong time for trying new foods. It happens, maybe we’ll try them again together, because, I, for one, loved them.

ME: Ok, this mystery food….Who can tell me what this? I don’t know if you’re going to be able to guess. Here you can all have one. There’s one for Lauren, one for Emma, and one for Sam.   Ok, what is this called; do you know?

KIDS: Um….

LAUREN: I want to do that one (points to another bowl)

ME: That’s called Quinoa. And we’re not doing it as a mystery food because it’s a grain and we usually do vegetables and fruits — but you can definitely have it for dinner though.

ME: Ok, what does it smell like? Does it smell like anything you know?


ME: Because you actually know it in a different form.

SAM: It looks like peaches.

ME: These are actually called microgreens, like the very first sprouts of a plant. Can you figure out what plant it is? Let’s see if we can find any of its seeds so that you can guess. So what do you guys have to say?

LAUREN: Hi. My name’s Lauren.

ME: Stop [laughing].

ME: Ok, these are actually sunflower shoots; sunflower microgreens. Do you like them?

LAUREN: (tasting) Kind of.

ME: They’re good, right? Sam, do you want to try it?

SAM: I don’t want to try it.

ME: They taste like sunflower seeds. Isn’t that cool? You want more?

LAUREN: No. No, no, no, no.

ME: Why don’t you want more?

EMMA: I don’t like them.

ME: Ok. Why don’t you like them?

EMMA: I love it.

ME: Oh, you love it now? Good, here’s another.

LAUREN: Ok. may I be excused?

ME: Not yet, we’re not done guys, we’re not done exploring. I think these leaves are really good. They kind of taste a little buttery to me. Do they taste buttery to you?

LAUREN: That’s why I don’t like it.

SAM: May I be excused too?



OkraThere are times when I know that a vegetable isn’t going to go over well, and I employ brute force tactics. My kids’ have recently become obsessed with the movie Ghostbusters, and I figured gooey Okra, gooey, ghosts, maybe that reference will get them to try this bizarre and sticky vegetable. No dice. But popcorn? Sometimes the greatest tricks come from the kids themselves…

ME: Guys, look at this. You know what this is called? It’s called Ghostbuster food. Who wants to break it open?

SAM: Me.

ME: What do you think is inside?

SAM: Seeds.

ME: Yeah?  Do you think Ghostbuster goo is in there?  Break it right open. Is there goo  inside?

SAM: Yeah.

LAUREN: I want to try!

ME: Ok.  Here you go. Is there goo inside?


ME: What? There’s no goo inside?

LAUREN: Whoa, look at this!

ME: Yeah!  You found the goo right? You can touch it.


ME: Yeah!  That is why I’m calling it this our Ghostbuster’s vegetable.  Do you know what it’s really called?


ME: It’s called Okra.


ME: Yeah, It’s all slimy inside.  Emma, do you want to see the inside?

SAM: Look.  Watch this.

ME: What? 

SAM: I’m going to eat it!

EMMA: Ewwww.

SAM: Just kidding.

ME: It’s gooey, that’s right. Look at that big long string of goo between the two of them.

EMMA: Ewww.

ME: It’s like a ghost got in here. Um, who wants to smell it?  What does it smell like Emma?

EMMA: Um, watermelon.

LAUREN: Is this what we’re having for dinner tonight?!

ME: Yeah.  What do you think it tastes like?

LAUREN:  (Takes a bite) Um Hum.
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ramps_FeedMeDearlyThere are days when everyone is subdued and sitting on the edge of their stools, waiting to sample their new mystery food. And there are days when the mystery food becomes a toy, or more specifically, a slingshot. Thankfully we were able to ignore the extraterrestrial species that had invaded Sam’s brain, and enjoyed our new experience with ramps. And not only did Lauren and Emma like their ramps, but they also ate every last piece, asking for more. This counts as a victory.

ME: Ok.  I have one new vegetable for us to try. What is this called?

LAUREN: I don’t know.

SAM: A duck.  A snake.

ME: It’s not called a snake.  It’s not called a duck.  Who wants to hold one?

SAM: Gooey slime? (He picks up a long ramp and swings it around his head lasso style)

ME: Don’t throw them around like that please. I grilled these.  Here, Emma you can have one too. 

KIDS: [laughing]

ME: Sam, don’t swing them around.  It’s not a toy.

KIDS: [laughing]

LAUREN: Did you feel the bottom? What does it feel like?

LAUREN: That’s easy — leaves.

ME: They are like leaves. Look guys, Lauren is already eating hers.  Who’s going to eat theirs next?

SAM: [making monkey sounds]

LAUREN: It tastes like salt.

ME: Ok, I’m going to tear open a ramp for you guys so that you can smell it.  Raw ramps have a really strong smell.  Let’s see.  Whoa.  What does it smell like? 

SAM: A unicorn.

ME: Unicorn? 

SAM: No, I said a leaf.

EMMA: Unitorn.

LAUREN: Do you eat the white part?

ME: You can eat the whole thing because I grilled it.  But you can also eat the raw one that I just opened. I love these.  These are one of my favorite things.

LAUREN: Oh my God, the white is spicy.

ME: Yeah, it’s a little spicy isn’t it?  It’s a little peppery.  You know why?

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The horror, that I would actually feed my kids a humble weed. At least that’s what Lauren was thinking when I served up a big bowl of dandelion greens. They’re bitter, so when I use them in my cooking, I make sure to give them a good toss with olive oil, salt, and a splash of vinegar. But they’re fun to taste on their own because that’s what we do on our mystery food challenge. Try vegetables in their raw state for the pure pleasure of exploring something new. And maybe if I hadn’t covered our lawn in weed killer, we’d have been eating more dandelions this year.

ME: Guys.  I have a pretty special mystery food.  Does anyone know what this is?  You guys will not believe what it is.


ME: What do you think it is?

SAM: We don’t know what it is.

ME: I know, that’s why I’m asking.  What do you think it is?

LAUREN: Lettuce greens?

ME: Nope. Have you seen this before, because I think you have.  It’s kind of like a lettuce green.  You’ve seen it before.  It grows in our yard.  Anyone have any idea?

LAUREN: (gives me a suspicious look)

ME: It’s dandelions. These are dandelion greens.  You can actually eat them.

LAUREN: Oh, yuck.

ME: And I bought them at the Farmer’s Market, a whole bag of them, and you can actually eat them.

SAM: And you can just pick them from the front yard?

ME: Yes, you can just pick them from the yard, except that we spray weed killer on ours.

SAM: Nahhhhh.

ME: I know.  Isn’t that the worst thing ever?  We could be hunting and foraging for chives and dandelion greens in our backyard because they both grow there, and instead we killed them with weed killer.

LAUREN: I’m feeling really sad for them.
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