Tasty Trivia: Eat your peas and carrots!

Jake Fredericks

Every evening around 6 o’clock, the world’s children transform from hellish, screaming banshees into modern-day Picassos, van Goghs and Rembrandts. Peas are arranged into elaborate emoticons, mashed potatoes and gravy shaped to re-enact Mount Vesuvius’ destruction of Pompeii and spoons become catapults laying siege to a carrot diorama of the Bastille. Parents clamour incessantly, trying to feed their offspring wholesome meals harvested from the earth, rather than manufactured box recipes. In a last, ditch effort to quell a raging storm spurned by cookies’ and ice cream’s temptations, utensils take on the characteristics of locomotives, exotic cars and supersonic aircraft. Mothers, fathers, grandparents and older siblings are at the mercy of these High-Chair Chancellors, regularly forced to succumb to an inevitable defeat.

But for the intrepid cook, the war for a balanced diet can be won with a sharp knife, a flexible palate and a taste for imagination. This week, subdue leafy greens pessimists and put self-righteous vegans in their place with these tricks-of-the-trade to help spice-up your veggies.

Surprise, It’s Not A Vegetable

Contrary to popular belief, some everyday foods we commonly refer to as vegetables are biologically classified as fruits. In its most broad definition, a vegetable is any plant whose fruit, seeds, roots, tubers, bulbs, stems, leaves, or flower parts are used as food, according to one dictionary reference. In other words, a vegetable is cultivated for its edible parts or qualities.

A fruit can be defined as the developed ovary of a seed plant with its contents and accessory parts, according to one dictionary reference. The “fruit” a plant produces can be identified as an edible species like peaches, or a floral species like dandelion greens. Floral fruits can also be presented in edible forms (squash blossom) and non-edible forms (tobacco). In many cases, certain vegetables are considered to be fruits, and vice versa. This unique, fruit-vegetable hybrid-classification commonly occurs with tomatoes, cucumbers, avocados, peppers and squash, to name a few.