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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I don’t often cook with mustard greens. Like collards, I often see them in the store and bypass them for the kale and chard. But I love their peppery bite, particularly this beautiful red variety that I found at the farmers’ market. Surprisingly, given its spiciness, the kids were into it.

ME: What is this guys?

LAUREN: Mustard greens.


SAM: Mustard greens?

ME: Yeah.  What does it look like to you? 

SAM: Looks like leaves.

ME: [to Emma] Here.  Ssssh.  Don’t get upset.  Ok.  Guys, we’re not playing tic-tac-toe right now.

LAUREN: You’re X and I’m O.

ME: Ok, we’re going to put those down for a second.  Ok.  Guys, I’m sad that nobody’s listening to the mystery food conversation. Who wants to smell it?


LAUREN: It smells like mustard.

ME: Here, I’m going to smell it with you guys.

EMMA: It’s mustard greens.

ME: Yeah, it is mustard greens.

SAM: One of the leaves is curling up right now.

ME: Sometimes you can break it in half right in front of your nose and you can even smell it better that way.  Watch this…..What does it smell like?

LAUREN: Mustard still.

SAM: This tastes like leaves.

ME: It does taste like a leaf, doesn’t it?

LAUREN: Oh, yeah.  Oh my God it really tastes like —

SAM: I’m only tasting it a little bit.

ME: What do you think?

LAUREN: The inside tastes good.
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