Salad Junkie

salad greens2 smLots of parents fret about their teenagers’ eating habits. Given the freedom and a little pocket money, most teens make bad food choices. I can’t judge—I was one of those teens once, splurging on chocolate and Coca-Cola every chance I got. My son is no different, though his vices tend toward the salty side—chips and cheesy breads.

But I don’t worry. He thinks I’ll reprimand him for the empty chip bag that comes home in his lunchbox (he didn’t get them from home…), but I know that his real weakness is salad.

Yep, salad. With a homemade vinaigrette, and plenty of dark, nutty lettuces and spinach. Maybe some nasturtium flowers for colour and a little zing…

He eyes the salad bowl after everyone has had seconds, waiting to see if his sister will fight him for what’s left. She often does, and I would, too, except that my parental instinct is to let them gorge on salad. Rarely is there anything left when the table is cleared.

How did it happen, this salad craving? I have no idea, except that our salads aren’t iceberg lettuce and an anaemic slice of greenhouse tomato. They have flavour and colour. The kids know the names of all the varieties of lettuce I plant, and they enjoy the range of “extras” we add, like nasturtium, salad burnet, and parsley.

“I like that drunk lady,” my son said one day after polishing off the salad greens, “It’s so…succulent.” He was referring to Drunken Woman Fringed Head—one of our reliable year-round lettuces (but that won’t stop me from using the quote as blackmail someday). How can a kid not like lettuce with a name like that?

So, let them have a few chips and some chocolate. I know that they’ll come home and stuff themselves with salad. That’s serious junk food!

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