Yesterday, my youngest boy came home from school and told me that the kids in his reading group all teased him for eating red, orange and yellow bell pepper slices for snack. He told me that the kids all said the fresh peppers stink and were gross. In a Benadryl haze, I am suffering from Spring allergies in January, I told him they were wrong but that I was proud of him for eating healthy. What does this have to do with carrots you might be wondering by now, lol, well cut to this morning… I decided that a nice crock pot of chicken and dumplings is just the thing to make myself feel better from this wacky January’s weather that has me having spring time allergies. In my chicken and dumplings, I like carrots. This may not be the traditional way of making it, but I had it somewhere and I like the color and sweetness the fresh carrots add to the dish. So, there I am peeling carrots and my mind wandered in the quietness of the kids are at school and my dog is snoring louder than a freight train, silence. Those poor children in the reading group who do not know the goodness of fresh sliced bell peppers. And for the record, I do not know who was in his reading group that day so I have no idea who they are or if they just don’t like peppers but in my head at that moment those anonymous children were “poor little deprived children”. Then I thought, how many kids today think that all carrots look like those prepackaged baby carrots you can buy at the super market? I wonder if they realize just what carrots look like. Now, I’m not knocking anyone’s preference to fruits and veggies, I myself am no fan of kiwi fruit, so I understand there are personal taste involved, however, baby carrots are real carrots cut/sand blasted down to that mini size. In my opinion, they lose all the sweetness of what a carrot is in that process. Maybe I’m lucky and my children like fruits and vegetables, but it worries me for the up and coming generations that they are losing touch with where their food comes from and what its natural form is. The natural form of chicken is not the pink sludge that is deep-fried at fast food restaurants just as it is not the natural form of a carrot to be all mini and smooth and uniformed. It is not natural for all eggs in the carton to be of the exact same shell consistency and color. It’s just not natural.
The moral of my story, if there must be one, going along with my “back to basics” mantra, is it’s time to go back to basics with food. Experience food in its natural state a little more often. I understand the appeal of processed and precut and the convenience of it all but perhaps this spring and summer as the farmer markets are getting up and running, buy some fresh produce, in its natural state. Let your children experience the markets, picking out produce, smelling melons to check for ripeness. It is such a wonderful way for children to learn about where food comes from and just maybe they will be more willing to try a new vegetable if they pick it out themselves. Well, it is food for thought anyway.