A meal without vegetables is like a present without a bow

broccoli tying the bow on a great dinnerIs nice, but it lacks that special touch.

I am definitely not a big fan of vegetables – I eat them, not quite under duress, although in days gone by, duress would have been a good word to describe the attitude which prevailed at the dinner table. My family subscribed to the “Eat your vegetables or else” mindset.

And my mother ALWAYS served vegetables with dinner. ALWAYS.

So when they did not appear at ALL, at this year’s “family” Christmas dinner – I found myself strangely VERY disappointed.

The meal felt ………. more than just incomplete. It was missing more than just peas and carrots…….

Vegetables are the pretty ribbons

Believe it or not, in a world in which many people are “vegetable haters”, some self-proclaimed, others closet haters, like me……….. most people believe that the presence of a vegetable or two, on the dinner plate, sends a subtle message……….


This is the finding of a recent study carried out by Cornell Food and Brand Lab.

And since, it is estimated only 23 % of meals served, include a REAL vegetable, that leaves a lot of plates…………….. some what loveless.

PS. Just to clarify what qualifies as a REAL vegetable. Potatoes don’t, neither does the cute little tomato and onion ring garnish, served alongside that piece of steak and chips, at the steakhouse. A REAL vegetable, is something like broccoli, green beans or carrots.

Discovering the “vegetable” psyche

The Cornell study, conducted a series of interviews to find out just what American mothers were thinking……….

500 moms, with at least two or more children under the age of 18, were asked to

  • evaluate meals – some were served with vegetables, some without,
  • evaluate the cook, who had served the meal, using attributes such as “selfish” or “loving”

NOTE : The questions were never asked at the same time, to avoid accidently biasing the answers.

Veggies make food TASTE better

The mere presence of a vegetable alongside the chicken, steak or pasta, improved meals.

For example, a piece of steak on its own, was only able to pick up a score of 7. Adding a serving of broccoli, alongside the steak, too the score to 8.08. The chef was also described in more positive terms i.e. the chef became….. “thoughtful”, “attentive” and “capable”, instead of “neglectful”, “selfish” and “boring” when a vegetable appeared on the plate.

Overall……… vegetables MADE THE MEAL.

It is not about the nutrition

Now health gurus everywhere proclaim the virtue of vegetables… after all they’re packed with a whole heap of vitamins, minerals and other goodies, which are good for you.

The nutritional value, should be enough to get a vegetable or two, popping up onto the dinner plate. And this is the reason why you need to push through, if you find yourself raising a self-proclaimed vegetable hater.

If you need to use a little ETHICAL MANIPULATION, by all means do so, try

But be careful when applying the “Finish your broccoli or else” rule – it could back fire on you.

Adding a vegetable to the plate…………..

Adds a bow to the plate

Adding a vegetable or two, to the plate turns that plate of food into something very special…… Serving vegetables with that steak, chicken or pasta – makes you a hero in your own kitchen.

And since kitchen work is often a chore, imagining that you are superwomen whipping up a LOVE PACKAGE, is way better than feeling akin to the family slave.

Bon appetite with lots of BOWS & KISSES.

How vegetables make the meal: their hedonic and heroic impact on perceptions of the meal and of the preparer. Public Health Nutrition (2012) : 1. Brian Wansink, Mitsuru Shimizu, Adam Brumberg.  

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Further reading

romantic dinner cum food fight cucumber hiding vitamins under his jacket little chef getting down and dirty in the kitchen
Serving your man peas and carrots can lead to infidelity That salad is just lettuce leaves without the right dressing Little chefs prefer real food to boxed food

The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

balance eicosanoids rein in insulin dial down stress sleep vitamin D microflora think
Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

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