During this holiday season I was fortunate enough to witness a miracle. Granted only a nutritionist or the parent of a picky eater would consider the event extraordinary: I converted at least five coworkers to cauliflower admirers.
It was the workplace potluck Thanksgiving. The holiday table was covered with turkey, ham and many gooey, saucy sides. Sitting in the back, not prime real estate, was my offering. It is an occupational hazard that anything a nutritionist brings to an event is surveyed for its “healthiness.’’ In reality we put deliciousness and nutrition on equal footing. That morning I had prepared roasted cauliflower with olive oil, salt, pepper and nutmeg. This was a recipe from Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave, Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life (Taunton Press).
I needed to do some public relations for my cauliflower. I never mentioned health. The perfect texture, the surprise of nutmeg and the hint of olive oil were my selling points. I heard the range of comments from I’ve never liked cauliflower to I don’t eat vegetables. With coaxing, however, a good number of my coworkers tasted the cauliflower; they were shocked it tasted so good. And at least five requested the recipe.
Too many people have tasted only plain, mushy or poorly prepared vegetables. With one bad experience, they’ve rejected a delicious and yes nutritious food group. Fresh vegetables prepared with the right spices and cooked at the right temperature and time burst with vibrant flavor. And every herb you add, from allspice to thyme, has a health benefit. In my dish, the nutmeg kills the bacteria that cause bad breath.
Pick up a new vegetable at the market and search the web for an appealing recipe. A starting point for recipes is www.elliekreiger.com and www.spiceadvice.com. Said Mark Twain: “Cauliflower is cabbage with a college education.” Sounds good to me.
Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Follow her on Twitter @sheahrarback.