We have an embarrassment of vegetables at our house.  We joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) this year which is essentially a farmer’s market in your house.  Once a week between April and November, we get a box of in season local vegetables and fruit.  Sometimes the bounty is fantastic (a July delivery a couple summers ago):

Other times, we get dismal handfuls of grainy lettuce and dirty beets.  Fortunately, that is mostly at the beginning of the season.  Also, my wife and child adore beets beyond comprehension.

Speaking of RR, she will typically eat any vegetable you offer her.  Normally she’ll try everything once and then simply decline to eat what she’s not feeling.  There isn’t much consistancy – some days she’s down with chicken, other days, not so much.  We can count on a pretty usual refusal of mac and cheese and a standard devouring of broccoli.  She has broad tastes and we are lucky.

I’m afraid we’re getting glimpses of pickiness.  I hope that it’s just more of a “it’s hot and I’m not hungry” and less of a “I hate you and all food options you offer.”  This week, I had leftover shredded zucchini on the heels of zucchini bread (three in the CSA box) and I scrambled for a way to use the rest without sautéing it.  Frankly, I’m the picky one in the family and I’m going to need more incentive than THAT on my squash.  I cobbled together the delicious zucchini patty – recipe below – and presented it to my child.

She proceeded to try to turn it onto the floor.


Excellent.  Eventually, we stuffed a few pieces into a bowl of ravioli she was eating.  Although we generally only offer what we’re eating plus any fruit or vegetables she wants, if we’re have something we can’t/won’t share, then we give her pasta.  We’re lazy.

Still, she steered clear of the DELICIOUS zucchini bits.  When the ravioli was gone, D offered her a forkful of the zucs.  Skeptically, she opened her mouth and, upon chewing, smiled.  Of course.  IT’S DELICIOUS.  She didn’t devour it but she ate a fair amount, probably because of the cheering.

Oh, yes, there’s cheering.  When she puts some food in her mouth she’s uncertain about, we go nuts. We cheer and sing and dance and praise her at the top of our lungs.  We wiggle and high five and fist bump and celebrate.  You would think we’d just won a billion dollars.  It’s sheer lunacy over a bite of zucchini.  But by god, it works.  I’m willing to be completely ridiculous for a full minute after every bite of something unfamiliar if it means she’ll take a second bite.  Also, since the cheering stops the second she spits it out, she usually eats at least one bite.  We can even use it to get her to try something by pretending to get ready to hoot and holler if it so much as hovers near her mouth.  I do not worry about the long-range impact of this method.

Delicious Zucchini (I wasn’t measuring as this was a leftover shot in the dark, you needn’t either.)
Shredded zucchini (maybe 1 cup and 1/2?)
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese (maybe a 1/4 cup?)
Cheddar cheese (mozzarella would also work – maybe a 1/2 cup?)
One egg
Breadcrumbs until you can get the mixture to hold together in a smallish flat patty.  The thinner it is the faster it will cook.

Heat oil in a pan.  Enough to cover the bottom (but we aren’t frying, we’re just sizzling).  When hot (drop a piece of zucchini to see – it should pop), put in your patties.  Don’t crowd the pan – leave a couple of inches on each side of the patties.  Flip when the edges are brown.  Depending on how much oil you used, you may want to rest them on some paper towels or a paper bag to suck out any excess.  Cook longer if they are too pale for you, shorter if they are too brown.  If they fall apart, you either need more breadcrumbs or more egg – depending on whether it fees dry or wet.

Eat the deliciousness.

5 Responses

  1. Ah, the cheering. We live in a rowhouse and our neighbors have a 21 month old and when I was pregnant, we would keep hearing them cheering through the walls (not just about food, about sitting, or walking, or generally doing anything they wanted him to be doing). I said to Jami, do you think we are going to cheer this much once we have a kid?

    Answer? Totally, yes! When F seems uncertain about something – whether it be rice cereal or a new person, we cheer. Let’s just push this kid, teetering on the edge of “do I like this?” firmly on to the good side! Look how much fun this is! How tasty! How awesome! Yay, baby!

    We wouldn’t all do it, if it didn’t work. I’m just saying.

    • How funny that you could hear them through the walls! I’m sure half the neighborhood can hear us with our windows and doors open. During a sporting season we can pass it off as being passionate fans. Hey, if we can push them to the good side – HURRAH!

  2. We cheered too! And then when cheering lost its appeal as our children grew older, we would refer to it as a “no thank you bite” – after one bite, they could say no thank you to the rest of that item. After several times of just tasting a new food, they often came around. My ten year old has been required to eat a “no thank you bite” of tomatoes since forever — just a month ago, he fell in love with chopped tomatoes, olive oil, and basil (the topping of bruschetta) and requested a whole container in his lunch. Yay for persistence and fun tricks!

  3. Ooooooh, courgette. So totally going to make me some of that. And I shall probably cheer as I eat it, I suspect.

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