Making Salad Cool for Little PeopleCasey Mullins
When I was a kid one of our favorite places to eat was a local burger joint where the fries came with a special sauce and the burgers were smothered in pastrami. It’s the first place I go when I’m back and I eat until I’m barely able to see straight. Whenever we’d go as kids my mom would always order the chef salad. I can’t really blame her, it came topped with a dozen different tasty things and they had the most delicious dressing but part of me still never understood why she’d order a salad over a giant juicy cheeseburger and hot delicious fries.
Then I turned 30, and it all started to make sense.
I can still pack away a cheeseburger and fries now and then, but most of the times my stomach prefers a much gentler approach to culinary delights. Maybe that’s why so many restaurants have been coming out with better and better salads, our previously young stomachs of steel can’t quite handle food the way we used to but we still want something really delicious and tasty. Enter the fancy salad. It’s easy to throw a bunch of vegetables into a bowl, pour some dressing on it and call it a salad, but a lot of thought goes into making a salad a meal. I can imagine a room full of people standing over various ingredients when it came time to put together Wendy’s Berry Almond Chicken Salad, debating the temperature of the meat, the mix of greens and the best kind of nut and dressing to set it all off.
*slow clap* Well done Wendy’s. Well done. My 30 year old stomach appreciates your attention to detail.
So what about these kids of ours, Addie thinks salad is pretty cool but it takes her forever to eat it (she’s the slowest eater ever) and it’s really hard to convince kids that salads can in fact be awesome. We’ve taken a three step approach to salad in this house. First I let her choose what goes into it. I make her think about what she’d eat for lunch without lettuce then badaboom, turn it into a salad. Hot dogs, carrots and fruit? Throw some diced ham, shaved carrots and apple chunks on top of some lettuce and toss it with some Thousand Island. The second salad tactic is to chop everything up really small, so there’s no enormous pieces of lettuce or carrots that require 67 chomps by Addie. Besides, things taste better when they’re all playing well together. Third? I put her portion of salad in a giant bowl, add her portion of dressing, cover it with a lid and let her shake the daylights out of it (I also do this with my Wendy’s salad, better dressing distribution.)
While Addie has yet to accept just a salad as complete meal, she’s become more open minded to them and excited about making them with me.
How do you get your kids to geek out about salad?