Making mayonnaise is always a worthy trip. One observation we make over and over again while working with students in gardens is that if they can saddle something with the vegetable they grow or dip the veggie in some sauce or another they will kind of be able to ease that new veggie into their taste buds’ wheelhouse. It seems to me that we do this all the time, i.e. enhance the taste of whatever we are eating.
Some produce grown in the garden just shocks the gustatory cells right off the students’ tongues! These are the garden superstars, the produce that when grown in the garden has really no kinship at all to the same produce you can find in the grocery store. No sauce or condiment, salt or sugar, garnish or heat, fancy slicing or presentation is needed. The freshness alone transports the students to a new galaxy of immediate appreciation. It is this moment really that defines gardens, especially school gardens. This experience happens with the superstars, the carrots, tomatoes, corn and a few select others.
But we do like to tinker, don’t we, even with these superstars. The produce is like a fidget spinner and we cannot keep our hands off of it. And this propensity of ours really gets to the heart of school gardens and nutrition. How can we get more people to appreciate fresh produce. In the end, we want more people to grow their own food, but for all practical purposes, not everyone has the space to do so. Another approach is to encourage more individuals and families to prepare food from fresh ingredients or whole food, the idea recently re-popularized by Michael Pollen, Alice Waters, and many others.
If they and others are right, the act of cooking from whole ingredients will perhaps encourage more of us to, if not grow our own food, at least buy produce from local farmers, or at the very least pay more appreciation to farmers and farm workers in general. This brings us back to mayonnaise because the first trick is to get people eating more produce right which involves one of the core tenets of ACT (ACT being have a good Attitude, Cooperate, and Try new things). In this case, it is the T or try new things.
I argue that it is time to use more fat or sugar or salt in our food if that leads us down the path of eventually eating a more healthy diet. We don’t have to go overboard. No need to kill ourselves. But there is also no need to go straight from a fast food or fast market diet to a raw produce diet. I am not sure I ever would have gotten around to loving stand alone beans if I had not been allowed to put cheese all over them. There were just too many choices calling me throughout the day for straight up beans to have even half a chance!