Though for many of us food is serious business, it is also wonderful how playful it can be. After all, from a very young age, we all have a tendency to “play with our food.”
broccoli-w-cheese

I am sure I am not the only kid that made up names and stories about my food. The fantasy especially helped the vegetables go down easier. Broccoli florets were trees, cauliflower were my birch trees, brussels sprouts were bushes, cooked carrots became telephone poles and stringy squash made rough telephone wires. The landscape, when arranged appropriately on the plate, most certainly helped the food taste better.

As Mini Whipped enters full toddlerhood, I have tried a number of things to get more veggies down her hatch. Luckily, she isn’t the pickiest of eaters but like most kids, she has her particularities. I encourage her to be playful with her food and the technique seems to be working. She helps me cook regularly and we enjoy gathering ingredients, assessing recipes by discussing the photos in the cookbooks, using the most fun kitchen tools from whisks to citrus zesters and making up stories about what we are eating.

Eating is necessary for sustenance and survival. But, how fortunate we are that we have the luxury to also make it so much fun! For those of us who are writing and reading food blogs, we can be grateful to have enough to eat and to have enough time on our hands to “play with our food.”

Broccoli with Cheddar Sauce
“Trees with Cheese”

6 cups broccoli florets
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons unbleached white flour
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
Sea salt, to taste
1 cup low fat milk
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
White pepper, to taste

Steam broccoli until crisp tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in flour, mustard powder and salt to taste. Gradually stir in milk, whisking over medium-low heat until thickened. Add cheese, stirring until completely melted. Season to taste with white pepper. Pour over steamed broccoli and serve immediately.

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32 Responses to “Trees with Cheese”

  1. Dinners and Dreams Says:

    I like the title of this recipe. i wondered what it meant for a split second then I looked at the pic…

    Nisrine

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  3. Laura Says:

    When I was growing up, we definitely had broccoli with cheese, but I don’t think it was ever as tasty as this recipe looks, or that we had such creative names for the dish! I’m going to have to give your take on this childhood staple a try – I especially like that you used mustard powder! Thank for sharing!

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  10. krysta Says:

    even though all my kids are teenagers they still call broccoli, trees. i’m glad we are the only ones.

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  14. Sanura Says:

    This is a classic recipe that Dad would make when we were kids. It’s how we eat our broccoli without the “ewwws” as kids. We loved that cheese sauce.

  15. Jan 18, Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits | Says:

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  16. Sues Says:

    I used to only eat broccoli with cheese too, when I was a kid :) My mom always put Velveeta’s Mexican cheese on it for me. Your recipe sounds fab and even though I love broccoli now, I’d still eat it like this! :)

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  18. The Food Hound Says:

    Broccoli with cheese is such an awesome thing to serve! It’s kid-friendly, and I dare any adult to say they don’t like it :) Love the name- trees with cheese, ha!

  19. krysta Says:

    oops, i meant to say not the only ones.

  20. Dana Says:

    As a child I went through a rather long phase where I wouldn’t eat anything that wasn’t accompanied by dip, so there were a lot of trees with cheese in my house while I was growing up. What can I say, dipping is fun!

  21. ofis koltuklari Says:

    am sure I am not the only kid that made up names and stories about my food

    http://www.casella.com.tr

  22. Agar Agar Says:

    How would I use Agar Agar in a tea or coffee? does it need to be disolve completely?

  23. Marburg Tapeten Says:

    great picture :))

  24. granit tezgah Says:

    These look wonderful…thanks for sharing this recipe. Interesting about the

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  27. gelir vergisi Says:

    I am sure I am not the only kid that made up names and stories about my food. The fantasy especially helped the vegetables go down easier. Broccoli florets were trees, cauliflower were my birch trees, brussels sprouts

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  30. sepetli vinc Says:

    citrus zesters and making up stories about what we are eating.

  31. notebook tamiri Says:

    As Mini Whipped enters full toddlerhood, I have tried a number of things to get more veggies down her hatch. Luckily, she isn’t the pickiest of eaters but like most kids, she has her particularities. I encourage her to be playful with her food and the technique seems to be working. She helps me cook regularly and we enjoy gathering ingredients, assessing recipes by discussing the photos in the cookbooks, using the most fun kitchen tools from whisks to citrus zesters and making up stories about what we are eating.

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