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Con Your Kids to Eat Vegetables, Steamy Style

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In response to the latest buzz about the lawsuit against Deceptively Delicious author, Jessica Seinfeld, I’m launching my own Steamy campaign against the entire concept of hiding vegetables in your kids’ food. But all in good humor.


Seinfeld’s recipes included stuff like, Carrot and Spinach Brownies, Cauliflower Banana Bread, Broccoli Gingerbread.


Like, totally. Gag me with an asparagus spear.


Do you even know how many Flaxseed Chicken Nuggets my kids can slingshot across the room in 12.3 seconds with one hand tied behind their backs? The long term effect of sneaking foods into your kids meals is the under appreciation of the taste of real vegetables. Plus, do you want kids to grow up with confusion over what mashed potatoes really taste like? When their school friends come over for supper, they’ll wonder why the hot dogs have a green tinge and smell like the wrong end of a hippo. That, my friends, leads to worse things than not eating greens, like social anxiety, adult bedwetting, and a plethora of disorders that require expensive medication.


If we’re going to dupe our kids into eating healthily, let’s do it right. There are a variety of tactics that I employ in the Steamy Kitchen household, borrowed mainly from my husband’s old West Point Military Academy handbook and his seven years as an Anthony Robbins trainer.


Bribery: “If you eat your broccoli, I’ll give you an extra fifty cents for college.”


Blatant Honesty: “See this picture of Uncle Jimmy? We call him lard-ass. He didn’t eat kale.”


Hostile Negotiations: “If you don’t clean your plate, I’ll whip Buzz Lightyear with a fishing pole and shock him with cattle prod.”


Neuro-Linguistic Programming: “It’s funny how much the more you try to resist the natural urge to eat Brussels sprouts, the more you keep wanting it, getting more and more excited about what you are tasting in your mouth at this very moment in time.”


Exploiting Sibling Competitiveness: “If you eat your carrots, I’ll love you way more than your brother.”


Jedi-Talk: “Try? There is no try. Just eat your goddamn vegetables.”


Good Cop/Bad Cop: “Dude. If I were you, I’d just stuff those carrots in your mouth. Mom’s coming and she’s on her 6th straight day of PMS. Don’t want to be on the receiving end of that monster.”


Spontaneous Egomania:SPINACH?! You can’t handle the spinach! Son, I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Cheetos and curse the alfalfa sprouts. I would rather you just said ‘thank you,’ and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest that you pick up that spinach and eat it like a man. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.”


Injection of Guilt: “You have NO IDEA how many miles your father had to walk up the steep mountain, in Florida snow, carrying fifty pounds of oranges, wearing flip-flops to get that tofu on your dinner plate.” or “Do you know how many pairs of Gap jeans your little cousin in China had to sew to so we could buy this bok-choy?” (Ok, that was baaaad … spank me.)


Dr. Phil: “Are you eating what you’re eating today because you want to eat it, or is it because it’s what you think you were eating yesterday when you were trying to finish eating? You moron, you don’t need to eat a horse’s genitals to spell your name.”


Starving Children in Africa Guilt: “If you don’t eat, I’m shipping YOUR ASS off to starve in Africa.” 


The Rath of God, Buddha, and Santa: THEY ARE ALL WATCHING YOU RIGHT NOW.”


And my favorite technique of all, Funny Food Names—laughing so hard you don’t notice you’re eating seaweed.


Furikake French Fries (pronounced Furrrrr-ee-kokkkkkkyyyyy)


If you say that ten times fast. You might fart.


Yes, it’s a real word. Furikake is a Japanese condiment that includes dried bonito flakes, seaweed, sesame seeds, and other seasonings. Find it at most Asian markets. While normally used to sprinkle on steamed rice, I sprinkled it on a fresh batch of French fries for a really cool sweet/salty hit. You can make homemade French fries with a good mandolin like I did, but I find the frozen kind easier to bake.


*DISCLAIMER: Yeah, I know this isn’t a healthy recipe. Get your kids to like seaweed FIRST with French fries, THEN switch it up on them—sprinkle Furikake on steamed broccoli, spinach, tofu … whatever!


This is another technique called Bait and Switch. This double-technique is for the experienced only. Amateurs do not try.


Furikake comes in a small can, with a pull-tab so you can shake out the furikake (heehee! I love saying that word!) There are many different flavors.


Furikake French Fries


*Gluten Free notes: the Furikake that I purchased included soy sauce, which has wheat. However, you can make your own seaweed salt mixture. Purchase unseasoned seaweed (brush with GF tamari, toast for a few seconds over open flame, crush) + sesame seeds + sea salt)


1 bag of frozen French fries
(if making own from scratch and frying instead of baking like a bad parent—see below)
2 tablespoons furikake seasoning
sea salt or kosher salt


Follow the directions on the bag of your frozen French fries. Be a good parent and bake ‘em instead of frying. Bake until golden and crispy. While the French fries are still hot, season with salt and furikake seasoning.


If you choose make homemade French fries, budget one large russet potato per person, after cutting, soak your fries in cold water at least thirty minutes, drain, and pat very dry. The soak helps remove excess starch and produces a crisper fry. Heat your oil to 325° F. Fry in batches for 1–3 minutes depending on thickness of fry, drain. Increase heat to 375° F and re-fry to crisp for 30 seconds–1 minute. Drain and season while hot.


It’s my new favorite word now and can be used in many different ways. The moment you feel angry, instead of cussing, just say Furikake. Guaranteed to snap you out of your foul mood.


That Mother-FURIKAKE cut me off again!
FURIKAKE You!
Yo mamma is a FURIKAKE!
What the FURIKAKE?
Yippy-Ki-Yay Mother-FURIKAKE! 

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