A recent New York Times article entitled, “Scorpions for Breakfast and Snails for Dinner” suggests that there’s no reason why kids should hate veggies, and that it’s even more absurd that parents have to resort to hiding veggies in junk food to get kids to eat healthy (think Jerry Seinfeld’s wife’s cookbook, Deceptively Delicious…)
The proof? Kids in China (and all around Asia) eat “crazy” things like deep fried scorpions and duck necks all the time, and they never think it’s weird or disgusting. Even crazier, kids in Asia in general have no problems eating vegetables and tofu WITHOUT ceaseless hounding or coercion from parents…contrary to their Western counterparts.
The article offers a reason why Asian kids aren’t as picky: in poor [Asian] countries, it’s a privilege just to have food on the table, and people can’t afford to be picky with their food. Maybe this was the case in my Dad’s generation, but things are definitely different now, so this explanation is only half the story. Lots of Asian nations have risen above sustenance level and the people aren’t afraid of starving to death anymore. Asian people eat everything – including vegetables – because they’re cooked in a totally DELICIOUS way! Maybe Asian kids are better at eating veggies because vegetables are just yummier, Asian-style.
As an immigrant Chinese kid, I truly didn’t understand why my American friends hated veggies….until I TASTED American-style veggies. Beans were flavorless and mushy, carrots and broccoli were flavorless and mushy, and the prevalent cooking method was to boil veggies till they turned to, well, mush. If I had to grow up on that, I’d throw hunger strikes every day.
If you grew up on ma-po tofu, gailan with oyster sauce, bibimbob, and veggie tempura on the other hand, how could you EVER view veggies as foe?