Growing up as an American in the Midwest, vegetables were not a main ingredient, but more of a reluctant afterthought. Sandwiches might have a bit of lettuce and an occasional tomato, and were usually paired with some version of fried potato. Botanically a vegetable, but more of a starch and once fried, nutritionally suspect. That said, the red peppers shown here are actually fruit, but considered a vegetable from a culinary standpoint, like green beans and cucumbers. Botanists and chefs apparently don’t hang out much. Most vegetables I ate as a kid came out of a can and were heated until they were pronounced dead, and therefore ready to eat. It was difficult to prefer vegetables back then as they simply didn’t taste very good. Moms up and down my block were constantly coaxing kids by saying “eat your vegetables,” which were often just slices of soggy carrots or puddles of corn. I’ve heard this phrase used today to mean doing the responsible thing even if it’s unfavorable. I’m sure those who use it in that fashion, had a similar experience with vegetables while growing up.

As an adult, I now mostly eat vegetables, which apparently puts me in an American minority as only 1 in 10 folks here eat the appropriate amount. But when it comes to other resposible things, I have to admit that I’m often caught trying to avoid actually doing them. Everything from preparing taxes to taking the recycling to the bin gets put on hold. I’ll eventually get to these tasks, of course, but not until I’ve systemically exhausted all the options I can think of to avoid doing them. I seem to always forget the rush of accomplishment that I feel when tasks like these are completed. I’m too fixated on the arduous feeling of actually doing them. Weirdly, I’m equally guilty of avoiding things I truly enoy in the same fashion. When it comes to starting that book I’d love to write, I’ll find other things that need doing instead and whine to myself that I don’t have the time. Which, of course, I don’t, but it was simply a self-inflicted choice I made.

Thankfully, my watercolor sketching and this little bit of writing for these posts have become a good habit. Something I always seem to make time for even on the busiest of days, like today. And doing so has proven to me that it’s entirely possible to make time for absolutely anything that you truly want to do. Time is never really the issue. For me, it’s often a combination of self-doubt and fear of failing at something. If I don’t try something, then it’s absolutely impossible to fail. This is perfectly silly thinking, of course, as the real truth is that in doing so, I’ve also made it impossible to succeed. When I feel that little bit of fear that slows me down, though, I can usually get through it if I listen to a different voice inside my head. This one is less critical and bitchy, but still a bit stern, and sounds vaguely like a concerned mother, passionately whispering, “eat your vegetables.”

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About the Doodlewash

Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Indian Yellow, Green Phthalo. Light, Red Orange, Sennelier Red, Dioxazine Purple, Turquoise Green, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Deep and Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon with black ink in a little red cloth hardbound l’aquarelle journal I found in a Paris shop.
 Day 21 - #WorldWatercolorGroup Eat Your Vegetables - Cutting Peppers With A Knife - #doodlewash

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53 thoughts on “Eat Your Vegetables

  1. Charlie, this painting is really beautiful, all the colors so fresh and bright, the perfect group of veggies to start any dinner. I make this all the time, and then throw in some shrimp or chicken or fish. Delish but this painting is too pretty to secret away in your journal. You should frame it and hang it in the kitchen, a reminder of how wondrous is all the bounty of the world.

  2. And this doozie of a doodlewash is exactly why children need to see these somehow – you’d be more persuasive than any parent, I’m sure! Even I’m warming to them, and I’m the biggest kid of all! 😉

  3. A beautiful painting of “paprika’s” so we call the red pepers as you say Charlie.
    In Holland vegetables were very important and less the meat, fish, chicken etc.
    If you ask someone what he is eating that day for dinner they often say at first the kind of vegatables and not the kind of meat, fish, chicken. I think it’s typical Dutch manner!

    Paprika’s are beautiful for painting and you did a good job!

  4. What a wonderful little painting! Vegetables are not only delicious, they´re also such a pretty painting subject! And your post to it is highly illuminating to me. When I stayed in Kansas at my host family, I was shocked by their way of “cooking” (please forgive me for saying that!). Vegetables were often deep-frozen, heated in the microwave, served without any spices. Now I know, that this was not my host moms fault – it´s kind of a midwest thing. 😉

  5. This post reminded me to pay my vehicle tax – haha, what am I doing reading blogs and not paying my tax!! Whoops. Your painting is wonderful! And veggies are delicious – but so, unfortunately, are fries. This post was very interesting, you combined a lot of thoughts here. Especially your last paragraph – I think I am doing the same thing as you. A lot of people are afraid of failure, so they don’t even try. Still, your blogging and painting is amounting to something, certainly. It’s good to have stumbled here!

      1. Either way, the vegetables are being cooked. I don’t have a pressure cooker. I do love the steamer we have. My son received a new one for his birthday. He gets it out, and it works also. We have no excuse not to eat our vegetables. Usually they are unseasoned. We can season at the table. Salt is a seasoning I try to stay away from. Smile.

  6. Vegetables are so versatile and not hard to prepare. Yet, here in the states fresh veggies and fruits are often passed by. If you look at the ratio of fresh produce to all else in our markets it is quite appalling. When we have traveled outside the states we have noticed a major difference in the diets including aforementioned and fish as well. I am blessed in that I live in the country and frequent the farmers markets in the area. I can and freeze produce and dried beans. I can do much better but then I guess something is better than nothing. HUGZ

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