I know that three of you reading this post have children who eat vegetables. First off, clearly God loves you more and, second, you may still like the recipe that makes up the grand conclusion of this post. For all of the other parents of picky children, I’ve got a great story for you.
As background, my oldest son (12) has been picky forever. I am sure I am the cause of that pickiness, somehow, but the reasons are so long ago that I don’t even remember. His younger brother (5) was never picky until he started using his older brother as his food “opinion leader,” as we say in the social sciences, for those in great authority positions in our lives, with such knowledge and wisdom, that we often seek them for advice (e.g. our wise 12-year-old brother…). And so my younger son is picky because his brother has coached him to be so.
These kids will not eat anything “green.” They pick around “green stuff” on their plate regularly, leaving little disorganized collections of green scraps on their dinner plates.
That all changed in the spring of 2013 when Frederick braced for allergy season, having suffered miserably the year before. He was in the county-wide performance of “Britain on Broadway,” playing a part in Mary Poppins. He needed to be on his game and was looking for a remedy. The season prior he used complementary therapies (local honey and some diffused essential oils) but still had to rely on allergy medication every day through the spring and he was still often on the edge of misery. He was wide open to change.
By chance the same season, my mom and I got into foraging for wild nettle leaf more than ever, largely because I found a local remedy for the intense rash I get. (The remedy was the lamb’s quarters growing right next to the nettle.) We had heard that nettle worked as an allergy remedy and so we brewed up a very strong tea for Frederick.
The nettle tea worked so quickly and completely as an allergy remedy for Frederick that I was blown away.
Apparently Frederick was blown away too because he agreed to eat nettle soup and it too helped him with allergy relief.
I should add that our greens soups are completely packed with greens. These are not the soups with some leaves floating around in them. Some batches of our soup are so dense with pureed leaf that they almost mound on the soup spoon. Personally, I feel good when these soups are in my diet that I see them as a vitamin and mineral supplement.
The great part of the greens soup story is that once Frederick agreed to eat it for allergy-relief, he continued to eat it for flavor. Even a densely-packed soup can taste fantastic with a good recipe approach. We vary our basic recipe process in many different ways, with greens in season in our garden or available here in the Sequoia National Forest and with various seasoning blends. The boys haven’t tired of it.
With all of that background, you’ll laugh at this video. I caught the boys a couple of weeks back in full form, bad-mouthing green vegetables (with a blooper reel below) and then eating just about the greenest lunch they could possibly eat.
Regular readers of this site will recognize the distinctive green-ness of that soup in our greens soup recipe here. Variations of this soup are a staple in our house and we outline the process in our under-publicized e-book Will Forage For Soup: Gourmet Soup from Foraged Greens.
We don’t actually buy any of our soup greens. We just go on a hike and collect them. Whether you shop in a market or in a forest, the process we use to make the soup is simple and the flavors adaptable.
We outline our process in the book which you can buy here.
Cleaning your garden greens
Leafy Greens: How To Choose, Ideas For Cooking
Your Next Greens Cookbook: Greens, Glorious Greens
Homemade kale chips — Your way, your flavors
An extra-nutritious polenta with some added wild greens
A green salad with a touch of India to break you out of your salad boredom
Asian chicken lettuce wraps
A weedy salad. You may find ingredients growing in the cracks of your driveway :)