My son is now collaborating with me on my other blog, Recipes for Ben, and we've been having lots of online chats to make our plans for recipes to add. He always has a long list of recipe requests for dishes he remembers from childhood. The other day, after sending another list that ended up with Pineapple Upside Down Cake and Gingerbread with Warm Applesauce, he suddenly asked: Did we only eat desserts? Didn't we ever eat any vegetables?
I was kind of embarrassed. I have always tried to be a good mother, but when I think about my performance in the vegetable department, I realize that it has been kind of lackluster. Vegetables were always an afterthought in our house, even on Thanksgiving. We'd look over the table, all laden with festive dishes, and realize, yikes! No vegetables! We would hurriedly slap some frozen peas in a bit of boiling water and there! Vegetables, check!
Thinking back to my own childhood, I see that I can blame Clarence Birdseye for my vegetable issues. My mother was a busy working mom, unusual for those days, and she took advantage of all the newest labor saving products. We ate TV dinners, frozen chicken or tuna (remember those?) pot pies, and little packages of frozen Birdseye vegetables--peas, corn, and the dreaded peas 'n carrots.
Once I had kids of my own, I just had no vegetable recipes to fall back on, so we continued on with the Birdseye tradition. As any parent knows, kids tend to crave what they don't get at home, so it's no wonder that Ben is now a superb eater of vegetables. He even invents his own recipes and they are good. Take that, Clarence Birdseye!
Please skip on over to the other blog and check out Ben's first post there, his recipe forSauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Onions. You'll really like his way with vegetables, and I'm pretty sure you'll love his sense of humor, too. Sick vengeful glee, indeed!
Fun fact: I'll bet you didn't know that Clarence Birdseye started out as a taxidermist. The man was interested in preserving practically everything...
Here is a quote from an About.com article on Clarence Birdseye by Mary Bellis:
Clarence Birdseye was born in 1886 in Brooklyn, New York. A taxidermist by trade, but a chef at heart, Clarence Birdseye wished his family could have fresh food all year. After observing the people of the Arctic preserving fresh fish and meat in barrels of sea water quickly frozen by the arctic temperatures, he concluded that it was the rapid freezing in the extremely low temperatures that made food retain freshness when thawed and cooked months later.
In 1923, with an investment of $7 for an electric fan, buckets of brine, and cakes of ice, Clarence Birdseye invented and later perfected a system of packing fresh food into waxed cardboard boxes and flash-freezing under high pressure. The Goldman-Sachs Trading Corporation and the Postum Company (later the General Foods Corporation) bought Clarence Birdseye’s patents and trademarks in 1929 for $22 million. The first quick-frozen vegetables, fruits, seafoods, and meat were sold to the public for the first time in 1930 in Springfield, Massachusetts, under the tradename Birds Eye Frosted Foods®.