Nanu was a fussy eater. He loved noodles, but when mamma cooks his favourite noodles with veggies, he would push the bowl away. Cutlets made his mouth water. But mamma is so adamant to make him eat those greens that she cleverly includes some finely chopped beans and spinach in the mix. Nanu would eat gladly unless he spots the green lurking in the cutlet.
One afternoon, Nanu was playing with his favourite round-about train set. Mamma tried to put him to sleep but he was not at all sleepy. He wanted to make the train run few more rounds. Finally, mamma dozed off.
Few minutes later, Nanu’s stomach gurgled. Was he hungry? But he just had his lunch. Oh no. He had been a bad boy yet again. He had refused to eat the porridge mamma made for him. There were beans, coriander and spinach in it. So he had stomped, screamed and kept his mouth closed tightly so as to not eat the vegetable porridge. Mamma got tired and gave up. And now she is asleep.
What to do now? The tummy is making odd noises.
Nanu knew his uncle had brought a packet of chips for him.
I will eat those chips now. Mom would not let me eat them if she wakes up.
So he stealthily went towards the kitchen. But he stopped short near the kitchen door.
What’s that sound? Who’s talking inside the kitchen?
Nanu peeped inside carefully. To his surprise, all the veggies in the kitchen were busy talking.
There were beans, carrots, a bundle of fresh spinach, cabbage, bottle-guard and potatoes chit-chatting.
Beans introduced itself first.
They call me beans
Long and lean
Chop me fine,
Wash me clean
Cook me well
If you are keen
to eat something tasty,
healthy and green.
Then came Spinach.
If you think I am just
A boring bundle of leaves?
Then set yourself right
I got something up my sleeves.
I am spinach,
The king of greens
I come packed with
Whole lot of proteins.
The carrots stepped forward.
We are beautiful
Colored red or orange,
And we certainly are not,
Only a rabbit’s forage.
Carrots make you glow,
Plump and bright,
And keep off the toothache
That bothers every night
After this melodious introduction session, the veggies turned serious and a bit gloomy.
“I want to make Nanu healthy and strong. I have so many good nutrients in me. And I am so tasty when cooked well. But Nanu doesn’t even taste me. His mamma cooks me so well in porridge and rice, noodles and cutlets. But he just refuses to eat me. How will he grow big and strong?” said the worried beans.
It was spinach’s turn to speak.
“I share the same woe, dear beans. Nanu is such a lovely boy. He has bright, big eyes. But if he keeps pushing his plate of spinach like this, he will have to wear those ugly specs like his grandparents. Specs make kids look so ugly.”
Nanu was listening to the veggie talk with rapt attention when the carrots started their point.
“Kids who eat us get good glowing cheeks. We help them fight diseases like flu. Like spinach, we also help the kids get good powerful eyes. Not only that, we also keep their teeth healthy, white and strong. Hmph. If only Nanu could understand all that. His cheeks will very soon start looking ugly and dull. His teeth will also turn yellow. I wish he learns to eat us before that happens.”
“Oh, mamma used to say all that to me, but I never believed her. So all that is true?”, thought Nanu.
And then, there was another voice. This time it was a giggle.
“Hee Hee. You veggies are fools. How can you think Nanu will eat you? You don’t taste as good as me, do you? I am crunchy and yummy. Kids love me over you all. Neither do I make their skin glow, nor I help them fight diseases. Still they stomp and scream to make their parents buy me from the shops. And I make their tummy so full that they refuse to eat you all at meal-time. Ha!”
Nanu was surprised and annoyed to see his favourite pack of chips talking like that.
“Hmm.. I need to teach him a lesson.”, decided the furious Nanu.
Actually, Nanu had learnt a lesson.
He went inside the kitchen and just when the packet of chips was expecting him to pick it up, he picked the unfinished bowl of porridge with carrot, beans and spinach and started eating.
To his surprise, the porridge tasted delicious. The veggies were juicy. As he was eating, he heard a loud cheer from the kitchen. He knew who all were celebrating.
When mamma woke up, she found the bowl of porridge licked clean beside Nanu who was sound asleep.