My Favorite Kid’s Food

My Favorite Kid's Food Broccoli and Cheese #WorldWatercolorGroup

When I was a kid, one of my favorite things that my sister made for me was broccoli and cheese. I was too young to remember, but my mother and sister assure me that I used to always request this dish while referring to broccoli as “little trees.” What I do remember is that I preferred the softer tops of the trees more than the hard stalks at the bottom. Also, the cheese sticks better to the crowns so that was an added bonus. I think the “cheese” at the time was Velveeta, that bizarre yellow-orange stuff in a box that doesn’t have to be refrigerated because it’s not actually cheese at all, just a mixture of preservatives. But it was a perfect way to disguise “veggies” so that little American kids would actually eat them.

Philippe makes an adult version of this with real ingredients and it’s delicious. And when he passes the boxed cheese in the store he still makes a wincing sound as though in actual physical pain. Having not had processed food in so long, this would likely be the case if we were to ever consume any of the stuff so we just pass by it, in horrified fascination. Once, while in the grocery, I pointed out a can of SPAM and mentioned that I used to have it fried on sandwiches. He winced again, and asked what it’s made from. I told him nobody really knows, and that’s why it’s so weird. As a kid, I was convinced it was unicorn meat, which was equal parts disgusting and magically delicious!

It’s strange to grow up eating things that as a sensible adult you wouldn’t possibly consume anymore. All the flavors of my childhood are really just a distant memory. I occasionally wonder what it would be like to sample some of those foods I used to eat. Would it bring back memories so wonderful it’s worth risking the painful indigestion? Probably not. I think most of it tastes better locked in my imagination. I’m a fan of real food these days, so those American food stuff inventions are no longer on the menu. But in those quiet moments, I think back to that time when garishly colored lukewarm cheese was simply the coolest thing on the planet. Provided, of course, it was served on top of a few little trees.

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About the Doodlewash

M. Graham Watercolors:  Gamboge, Permanent Green Pale, Burnt Sienna, and Ultramarine Blue. Sennelier: Olive Green. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal.
My Favorite Kid's Food Broccoli and Cheese #WorldWatercolorGroup

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Jodi 6 years ago

    Your broccoli looks amazing! hard to imagine that was your favorite childhood food…. I used to love saltine crackers at Grandma’s. We never got them at home. My mom bought Ritz, and I loved Grandma’s saltines better. Grandpap put them in his coffee and called it coffee soup. And yep – we had all of our vegetables buried in velveeta back in the day too. Funny to think of that. 🙂

    • Ellie 6 years ago

      Wow. I am trying to wrap my head around saltines in coffee. Calling it coffee soup sounds better. Grandpas are super!!

    • Author

      Thanks, Jodi! 😃💕Hehe… oh wow… coffee soup sounds perfectly gross! Lol I can’t even imagine what that would be like. But so funny!

  2. Oh my….unicorn meat! Well I always thought ox tail soup sounded revolting, but to eat a unicorn, tut tut! I’m with you for the love of the small trees though 😀

    • Author

      Hehe… thanks, Rebecca! 😃💕 yeah… if I found out it was actually unicorn meat I don’t think I could eat it! I love ox tail soup though! 😊

  3. Jacob 6 years ago

    Fantastic! It’s great that the doodlewashes are by default so much bigger now – much easier to peruse!

    I used to ask for ‘little trees’ too! So much so, that I used to make a point of finding it at the supermarket and throwing the ‘tree’ in the trolley. It never tasted as good as I imagined, though… perhaps it needed the cheese treatment! And aw, poor Philippe and his shopping ordeals. I don’t believe I’ve ever tried unicorn meat/SPAM – I shan’t be rushing to change that!

  4. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 years ago

    Charlie, your painting of trees with a ribbon of orange is absolutely beautiful! You captured every part of the broccoli and the cheese-like syrup to perfection. It looks appetizing, though I never liked Velveeta and still don’t care for broccoli. (I do love most other veggies.)

    My favorite childhood food was a grilled sandwich with tomato slices on top, served open face. Still my favorite.
    Probably Borden’s slices when I was a kid, so only one step up from Velveeta.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 I just pretended the cheese was actually plastic and it all came together well! Lol That Velveeta stuff was so weird. Tasted good when melted, but kind of gross if you just tried to eat a bite.

  5. Margaret Parker Brown 6 years ago

    I am so glad that velveeta and spam is a very distant memory, yep it was a part of my childhood though thank goodness my mother was an excellent cook and we had a lot of “farm food with a Southern twist” even in the middle of LA! Amusing post Charlie, one that made me step back to days long gone 🙂

    • Author

      Thanks, Margaret! Glad you liked this post! 😃💕Farm food was the best! I loved visiting my grandmother’s house in the summer to get it!

      • Margaret Parker Brown 6 years ago

        I was fortunate to have had a mother who was raised on a farm in Ohio who loved to cook and a father who was from Appalachia Kentucky who wanted his southern food, hence the best of both worlds. 🙂

  6. Teri C 6 years ago

    That is an amazing painting. That broccoli looks good enough to eat. With real cheese. It’s actually kind of amazing that you as a kid, liked it as most kids don’t.

    • Author

      Thanks, Teri! 😃💕 Yeah… I was destined to grow up a near vegetarian I think! hehe… always did love vegetables!

  7. Sand Salt Moon 6 years ago

    I recently bought a can of Underwood’s Deviled Ham and it did not live up to its memory. Your broccoli tree tops are perfection.

  8. Jill Kuhn 6 years ago

    Magically delicious?! Wasn’t that the commercial for the sugary cereal, Lucky Charms? 😉❤️🍀 Lol! My sister’s favorite if I recall correctly! 😄 I didn’t like veggies much as a kid. In fact I used to feed my peas to the cat…fluoride vitamins too! Our cat had great teeth! 😂🐱 Love your “little trees” Charlie!! Fun post today. ❤️🎨
    P.S. I was never very fond of Unicorn meat… Hehe! 🦄🦄🦄

    • Author

      Yeah… it was totally the Lucky Charms tagline…. it was running through my head as I was thinking of childhood. I loved that cereal too! Lol Thanks, Jill! 😃💕 hehe… yeah… unicorn meat is best left in the can!

  9. Arsty Birdy 6 years ago

    Those little trees look gorgeous! Love the Unicorn meat 😉

  10. memadtwo 6 years ago

    Yes those “foods” popular in the 50s and 60s still baffle me. My parents actually did start eating real food in later years, so I guess they finally found it weird too! At least you had real broccoli with your velveeta…we rarely had a vegetable that was not out of a can when I grew up…(K)

    • Author

      Yeah… most of my vegetables came in a can when I was a kid. It’s a wonder we had enough actual nutrients to even grow up walking upright! Lol Glad that real food is the only thing on the menu now. Tastes soooo much better! 😃

  11. Ellie 6 years ago

    I can always count on you, Charlie, to take me down that odd memory lane of childhood foods! Cheez Whiz. Loved loved loved that. We never had Velveeta, but I think the idea is the same: dairy product that never needs refrigeration. You truly have elevated the non-dairy cheese products, though, with that outstanding Dooodlewash. Little trees never looked better.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Ellie! 😃💕 Yeah… it was so weird that humans felt the need to invent so many “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Food” items. Super gross really if you think about it too much. I’ll still to real food and real little trees! hehe

  12. jmnowak 6 years ago

    I think bananas have always been my fave food, at any time! In any way. My recent love is a Malaysian dessert served at Pappa Rich in the city (and yes, I have a few pix to show later), called Roti Banana Vanilla Ice Cream, takes up the whole of a full-size dinner plate, a meal in itself…Yum!
    ‘Tho as an adult, I have come to love broccoli. In fact, I had some yesterday in a Green Barramundi curry, delicious! Your doodle is delicious too.

  13. travelfoodandme2016 6 years ago

    Your childhood food is amazing ! thanks for this informative and interesting blog

  14. travelfoodandme2016 6 years ago

    I wish I am a kid ( still ) though..ehhheheee

  15. Jeyran Main 6 years ago

    You have a very beautiful website. I look forward to coming back and reading more. Please stop by mine and if you like, follow back.

  16. Sharon Nolfi 5 years ago

    My mom served broccoli with home-made (real) cheese sauce, and it was delicious. You did a great job on the florets.

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