Eat some carrots today

Since childhood, I have loved vegetables–winter squash, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, potatoes, carrots, avocados, spinach, lettuce, radishes, and celery.
Of all the foods there are, I like vegetables the best. There is only one exception. Somehow I have never cared for “slimy” okra.
My family, on the other hand, is picky about vegetables. As a young married woman, I used to make delicious vegetable meals like stuffed acorn squash and stuffed bell peppers.
But all that work didn’t impress my new husband, and my brother quipped, “Poor Howard has to eat his meal in a pepper!”
Much later, I again made stuffed peppers but my children just picked at their plates. And when I fed the leftovers to our dog “Princess,” she turned up her nose—even though there was quite a bit of hamburger amongst the vegetables.
Fortunately, I later learned to serve the right kind of vegetables but doubt that anyone else enjoys them as much as I do. I easily could become a vegetarian.
That’s why I was excited when I got a review copy of “The ABCs of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond.” Written by best-selling food writers David and Nikki Goldbeck, this book is designed to motivate children to eat more vegetables.
The Goldbecks have been writing about good food and consumer issues since the 1970s. Some of their best-sellers are “The Supermarket Handbook” and “American Wholefoods Cuisine.”
But they have never written for children before, so they collaborated with nationally-known children’s entertainer and writer Steve Charney.
The first part of the book features Charney’s zany ABC rhymes for small children, such as “C is for the carrots/that rabbits like to munch/They eat them ’cause they love the taste/Me… I like the crunch!”
The Goldbecks, meanwhile, wrote Part Two–the ABC’s of “Food, Facts and Fun for Everyone.”
Let’s take “A” for instance. Did you know there are 7,000 different kinds of apples? And only about 100 are available in markets.
Another fun fact–the record for the longest unbroken apple peel is 155 feet. It was peeled in 11-and-a-half hours in 1976 by Kathy Wafler in Rochester, N.Y.
And a tip I knew before (but had forgotten) is to sprinkle lemon juice on your sliced apple to keep it from turning brown.
There also are lots of recipes–easy recipes like Nectarine Nectar and hard ones like Fresh Nectarine Cake. And corny jokes: “What is purple and your grandmother’s brother?” Answer: Your grape uncle.
My favourite page is “P,” not because it recommends “Pickin Peas,” an old southern folktale for beginning readers, but because it has the lyrics from one of my favourite folk songs–“I eat my peas with honey/I’ve done it all my life/It may taste kind of funny/But it keeps them on my knife.”
Years and years ago, I had a 78 r.p.m. recording of that song and I almost wore it out!
Knowing how important vegetables and fruits are for good health, why not share this book with your grandchildren or great-grandchildren.
And don’t forget to eat some carrots yourself today!
Marie Snider is a syndicated columnist. E-mail her at