Sunday, April 6, 2014

How to Cook Healthy Food for Kids : Green Beans in Anchovy Sauce Recipe by Mr. Green Bean

While I was attending Northwestern University, I majored in psychology and developed a keen interest in the study of human behavior.  One of my psychology classes was called, "Perception".  Although I don't remember much from the class, I do remember one specific lecture.  Our professor started by showing us a picture of the letter "A", colored red.  Then he went on to question us about how we can simultaneously perceive the "redness" of the "A" and the "A-ness" of the "A".  He then explained that in one context, the "redness" might dominate our perception, while in another context the "A-ness" might dominate our perception.

Fine.  The only problem was that every time he said "A-ness", our class heard the word, "anus".  I remember stealing looks from one classmate to another and desperately trying to suppress my laughter.  All the while, our professor continued on in his learned manner, describing the "A-ness" of the letter "A".  Not very perceptive professor!

In order to encourage kids to try new foods, its important to understand how they perceive food.  For instance, when I ask kids why they don't like fish, they usually respond, "Because its fishy."  And then I give them a blank stare.  So the trick to get fish haters to eat fish is to make the fish less fishy.  I see.  Read about the importance of fish in my previous post:

I was thinking about this problem the other day while going through some educational cards with Colin called Brain Quest.  These are fun cards with pictures that are designed to engage kids in active thinking.  Some of the cards are designed to help kids pick out patterns such as picking out all the vegetables.  Other cards show a familiar object with some part missing.  Kids are then supposed to figure out what is wrong with the picture.  I have found that Colin is much better at identifying when something is present than he is at identifying when something is absent or presented in an unfamiliar form.  

Kids who refuse fish when presented in a fishy form might be open to eating a dish that presents fish in a non-fishy form.  One of my favorite ways to prepare green beans is to use mashed up canned anchovies as a savory sauce mixed with the green beans.  It is a great way to serve fish in a non-fishy form.  It is also so easy to prepare that even the not so perceptive, "Mr. Green Bean" can do it:

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Here's a link to the recipe I used in the above video:

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