Top | Our Table

Suppertime storytelling

(article, Kim Carlson)

Feeding children can be a challenge, and many of us resort to storytelling to get the job done. (Or we lower our standards, which works wonders.) Over at the Ladybug Letter, farmer and scribe Andy Griffin tells of the travails that result from serving a simple salad:

bq.“I’m not hungry,” Lena says, stirring her salad with her fork.

bq.If I get flack from the kids because I’ve used a light vinaigrette that brings out the flavors of the lettuces, rather than a ranch dressing that cloaks them, I retaliate by telling a story.

bq.“When I was a kid,” I start, “salad was a wedge of iceberg and a pink tomato.”

bq.My son, Graydon, has learned to lay low in such circumstances, but Lena loves combat. She bugs her eyes out and gasps, “Must . . . must get . . . must get air.”

bq.Her cynical riposte demands an escalation of rhetoric on my part. 

And so Griffin launches into a tale, or two, distracting the kids from the immediate dressing issues. To be fair, Griffin's children have highly attuned food senses already:

bq.My mother feels that I’m too hard on my children, so when they visit her she likes to spoil them.

bq.“Would you like a piece of chocolate?” she asked Lena one evening.

bq.Lena was watching Loony Toons. “Is it Scharffen Berger?” she asked over her shoulder.

bq.I got a phone call about that. 

But they're not so worldly as to not be fazed by stories of exotic ingredients like snakes, squirrels, and acorns soaking in the most unusual of places. Maybe more of us can try this at home. And do read Griffin's entire piece; like dessert, you'll be rewarded at the end.

[%image promo-image float=right width=350 credit="Photo © Culinate" caption="Tomatoes all week long."]

h4. Tomato tales

It's tomato season, and we've got them covered. Hybridized tomatoes, like the ones pictured in this week's feature on the new varieties of colored vegetables, are different from genetically modified tomatoes, as mentioned in a recent feature on transgenic foods. But they're similar, which can cause not a small amount of discomfort on the part of consumers — and governments in the European Union, for instance. 

(If food is labeled "genetically modified," will you buy it? Does it make no difference? Do you prefer not to know?)

Of course, both types of tomatoes are different from The $64 Tomato — which itself is different from "The $64,000 Question." (But you knew that already.) 

Still more tomatoes: Later this week, watch the Front Burner column, where Kelly Myers takes on peeling and seeding you-know-what.

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