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Making them palatable

Attractive and catchy names can make kids eat more greens. Who said what’s in a name?

india Updated: Sep 18, 2012 21:06 IST

It is so simple that we wonder why we did not think of this earlier. If you have a whiny child who will not eat her vegetables, you no longer have to disguise it in another more attractive dish. Just give the veggie an attractive name. Researchers from Cornell University found that if you called the humble carrot X-ray vision carrots, students apparently gobbled them up. Broccoli called power punch broccoli and silly dilly green beans apparently went down a treat with the children. But we fear that this renaming will get us only so far and no more with children. When they realise that what is being dished out is, well the same old dish, it is likely that they will turn up their noses at these veggies.

Long ago and far away, children were cajoled into eating spinach with the promise that they would become as strong as Popeye the sailorman. Of course, many of us who fell for that one waited in vain for the superhuman strength to materialise, which it did not of course. If we were to deal with some of our local veggies, finding attractive names may prove a bit tricky. For example, what would you call tinda, lauki or karela? We can think of a few names, but no guarantees that this will get children asking for seconds. Truly tasty tinda could be one, languorous lauki could be another and kicker karela could work.

In our days, veggies were cunningly hidden in meat dishes or in tasty things like mashed potatoes to fool us. And that seemed to have worked for many of us. For those of us who went to boarding school, all objections to veggies went out of the window when we found that there were others more than eager to eat our portions. This quickly elevated the reviled aubergine etc to pride of place on our plates. But, try the attractive names, it might just make mealtimes a little less tense and more palatable.