If my son has a nemesis, it’s tomatoes. He adores pizza, but if the sauce is too obvious—or has any visible tomato chunks—he picks at it, wipes it with a napkin, or starts to cry. (That last response is becoming embarrassing, since he’s turning seven this month.) Dude doesn’t even like ketchup.
This hasn’t stopped me from buying sweet, juicy ‘maters by the armload, now that High Tomato Season has arrived. And the other day, unpacking my bursting-at-the-seams farmers’ market bag, I dropped a large one. Perfectly ripe, it smushed a bit and cracked open on the kitchen floor.
Never mind the five-second rule—I picked that sucker up, washed it off, and considered how to use it. Gazpacho, maybe, using some of the kinda disappointing honeydew that lingered in my fridge. (Can you say, “Gazpacho with Honeydew & Peppadew”?) But then I thought about Harry. I knew he’d never go for that. Wouldn’t even taste it—too many unknown flavors combined in one bowl.
Considering how much Harry hates tomatoes, I’m not sure why I thought I might come up with something he’d like. But I bought a single-serving-size Zoku Quick Pop Maker recently, and I knew he enjoyed using it, so…
I did something I never do. I tricked my son into eating a vegetable, by turning it into a treat.
When I walked into the living room eating my pale pink pop, he perked up immediately and asked what it was. I said it had melon in it, and a bit of sweetener, and a secret ingredient or two. Would he like to taste it and guess? He would. He did. He liked it, and wanted his own so he could try to figure it out. Here’s what happened next:
As you can see, one of his guesses will soon lead to a new vegetable-based popsicle, this time with carrots. So, yeah. Trickery works, sometimes. Just be sure to fess up soon after, or your kid will never trust you again, which will doubtless lead to a life of debauchery. (My mom fed me brussels sprouts and I didn’t even know it! Pass the vodka.)
Have you ever deceived your child into eating something? How did it work out?
Makes about 6
2 cups cubed honeydew melon
1 large or 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and cut into chunks
10 large basil leaves
juice of 1/2 lemon
honey or agave or simple syrup (amount will depend on the sweetness of your melon and tomatoes; I used Sugar in the Raw liquid cane)
pinch of salt
- In a blender, puree together the melon, tomatoes, basil, and lemon juice. Taste the mixture—depending on how sweet (or not-sweet) it is, add anywhere from a splash to 1/4 cup of sweetener plus a pinch of salt and whir again. Taste, and adjust seasoning. When frozen, the flavors will dull slightly, so add a little more than you think is necessary.
- Pour into popsicle molds and freeze according to the molds’ directions.
MAKE BABY FOOD: Heck yeah, this’ll make a baby happy! Note that babies under a year old can’t have honey (botulism worries), so use an alternative.