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Oct 21, 2008

How Superman Defeats Broccoli

. Oct 21, 2008

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The brisk fall evening has me yearning for hot soup and warm bread. I arrive at my favorite destination for such comfort foods, The Soup Plantation. I love to people watch at buffets; euphoria is in the air with so many delicious choices and no limits besides self-imposed ones.

It's a busy dinner crowd. Adults are giddy at the bread station (myself included) with three kinds of cheese breads, baked potatoes, muffins and more. I remember this is where I watched the Bathroom Sneak last year and wonder if he's been back since. The children here provide a stark contrast to their indulgent parents. Most look out windows or twirl in their chairs, eating a bite now and then. They've not yet courted a love affair with food, like we have.

My full plate and I take a two-seater table along the edge of the main dining area. Tables for four occupy the center of the room. Parents, a young boy and a grandfather dine immediately to my left. The boy and his mother sit with their backs to me, across from the dad and grandfather. A bright red Superman cape covers the boy's back and I wonder if he's had a Halloween costume day at school.

The little boy chatters to his family constantly. His mother taps his plate and he takes intermittent bites of food. About 15 minutes into my meal, I hear stronger urging from his mother:

Mom: Brandon, eat the broccoli now. You have to finish just these few pieces. It's very good for you.
Boy: Yuck! I don't like that. I don't want to.
Mom: Stop it. Dip it in the ranch dressing and it will taste better. No desert until it's gone.
Boy: (shakes his head vigorously back and forth) I DON'T LIKE IT. It tastes like trees.
Dad: What do you mean it tastes like trees? Have you ever eaten a tree?
Mom: It looks like a little tree, but it tastes good. C'mon Brandon, no more fussing. Eat it.

Moments later, the parents return to the buffet. The boy looks at his grandfather, who is deep into his salad. The boy looks toward the buffet and then down at his plate. He swings his legs a few times. His hand quickly snatches a broccoli floret and gingerly drops it under the table. He looks again at his grandfather, still busy eating. The boy's hand returns to his plate. Several broccoli florets lob under his table, bouncing on the floor.

The parents return with soft serve ice cream and some fruit. The mother looks at her son's plate:

Mom: Good job honey! Dad, you must have the magic touch.

The grandfather smiles to himself. The boy's mother returns to the buffet for her son's ice cream and the family enjoys desert together. As they prepare to leave, the boy darts away from the table and his mom follows him. The dad collects the coats and walks away as the grandfather rises. He opens his wallet and leaves a tip. The older man stretches his back, puts on his jacket then bends under the table and picks up the broccoli.

10 Whispers:

Chase March said...

Grandpas are the best! Aren't they?

I don't think we need to force kids to eat things and threaten them with desert. Way to go Gramps!

Andrea's Sweet Life said...

That's got to be one of the best parts about being a grandparent. Being able to allow a kid to skip his broccoli without any lectures.

And covertly cleaning up the mess, of course.

Rene' Morris said...

Oh my gosh how adorable! I love it. Thank you so much for sharing this! One time, when I was five, I didn't want to eat my steak. For a five-year-old, it took too long to chew. So, I threw it under the table..after all, five-year-olds can't be neat eaters all the time, right?

Sheryl Tuttle said...

What a nice heart-warming post. Thanks for sharing!

The Taco Traveler said...

Very nice - and so well delivered, with a perfect ending.

Vivienne said...

Hi Chase, three cheers for gramps, indeed! I never knew either of my grandpas, but from my parents' stories about them, I know I would have loved them. In fact, I'm certain they would have played the broccoli bait and switch with me, too.

Hello Andrea, I once heard a coworker say grandparenting is like a second childhood. I thought that sounded so nice. I imagine myself as a grandmother, conspiring with my grandkids to both of our delights.

Rene, that's too funny. My most vivid childhood food memory is a face-off with my Mom at the dinner table over leeks. I cannot stand leeks to this day. I can still feel them sticking in my throat and the subsequent gag reflex. I guess I was too obedient to even consider any option but eating them. Glad to say I color outside the lines more often now.

Thank you, Sheryl. Glad you enjoyed it.

Hi Taco, I was dining alone and I laughed out loud when the grandpa fetched the broccoli. He looked over and winked at me. Just perfect. He reminded me of Santa Claus at that moment!

CQ said...

Beautiful writing as ever. Though I can't help feeling left out - my grandad was no co-conspirator, and certainly would have encouraged me to eat the "little trees". My grandma on the other hand...

Rebecca said...

My kind of kid. I'm 25, and I still hate most vegetables.

Great grandpa! I love how he didn't let on... just kept eating. I wish my grandparents had done that...

Forest Central said...

Haha, the titles great! Gotta love those veggies. ;)

the green ninja said...

Awesome! I love it.

 

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