In 2017, less than one third of Canadians living in food secure households reported consuming fruit and vegetables five or more times per day*. Had we grown up eating freshly pan-seared Brussels sprouts with a sad side of boiled steak, might we be more inclined to favour the sprouts over the beef? We don’t expect under-seasoned and overcooked meat to taste particularly good, so I do wonder why many of us continue treating our vegetables this way.
In my mind, the same rules apply to all whole ingredients. I toast my grains before boiling them, and use broth or something fragrant and creamy like coconut milk as a cooking liquid. I love my corn charred, my asparagus grilled, and my chickpeas roasted or braised. And what would we do without sauces, dressings and vinaigrettes? Nothing brings me more joy than a kitchen filled with herbs and spices, oils and vinegars, aromatics and condiments, pickles and pastes, jams and chutneys — and, of course, colourful produce (fresh, frozen or canned) to cook them with. Both at home and out, let’s get excited about soups and salads, and embrace (if not demand) the vegetable-focused meal.
Or, at the very least, learn to appreciate the carrot as a worthy snack.
*the proportion is even lower if fruit juices and potatoes are excluded