food

Eggplant most hated vegetable among kids

71 Comments

Kagome Co Ltd recently conducted a survey of Japanese mothers of children aged 3 or older, which vegetables their kids disliked the most.

The eggplant got the dubious honor. According to the research results, 60.8% children said they don't like eating vegetables anyway, but 32.5% nominated the eggplant as the vegetable they dislike the most. That was followed by bell peppers (26%) and shiitake mushrooms, okra and Welsh onions -- which have either a strong taste or strong smell.

At the other end of the spectrum, 77.3% of the children said they like corn most of all,followed by potatoes (71.8%) and "edamame" or soybeans in a pod (70.6%). Children said these vegetables taste sweeter.

Kagome said the research was conducted online and responses were received from 800 women who have children aged from 3 to 15.

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71 Comments
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i also dislike eggplant..but my list is little longer it includes corn and potatoes as well.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I'm surprised there's no mention of carrots, which are my least favorite due to their endless aftertaste.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Carrots are vile.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

As a kid I used to hate mushrooms. Now they're one of my favourite foods (except slimy, slippy nameko)

As a kid my son hated green peppers, until his little girl-friend gave him a bag of them she'd picked from her father's allotment 'Just for you'.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Some studies indicate that eggplant is effective for the treatment and control of high cholesterol. However eggplants aren't too filling, doesn't contain much nutritional value but is low in calories, virtually fat free and contributes to a meaty texture to dishes, making them popular in vegetarian dishes. I love the Szechwan Eggplant. Brush the eggplant with oil, grill for 5 minutes, toss in the wok with minced fresh ginger and garlic. Add hot pepper, some shoyu, then garnish with scallions, basil, and sesame seeds. Yummy. It's delicious

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Like my eggplant breaded Italian style with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce or spicy chinese with garlic sauce.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Are they talking baout aubergine? That is a tasty veg especailly in Mousakka and many Indian dishes..

0 ( +4 / -5 )

It's all in the preparation. If mums are offering up eggplant in long slices, in all its sliminess, no wonder they don't like it. It was only when I started steaming vegetables and fish, and roasting chicken,a few years ago that I learned that you do not have to cook food until all the colour, crunch and flavour has leached out of it. Grilled eggplant is nice.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Have to agree with Maria about the preparation.

Found most people actually dislike the preparation rather than the actual food/dish. We often have kids over and I do cook luncheon for them, many mothers said that they kids are raving about veggies here and started eating more at home too.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I am surprised goya wasn't the least popular. Many adults don't like that one.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

haha eggplant, grow my own & by Aug start getting tired of them, then yesterday a friend gave us a bunch so last night lots of eggplant tempura, which is very good, just sprinkle a bit of quality salt on & you can stuff yrself, then this morning the miso soup was piled with'em, I think we are almost thru them all

We always eat summer/fall then take a holiday winter/spring, rinse & repeat year after year LOL

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Great roasted in its skin, then peeled and served with ginger, katsuoboshi and shoyu. If you thought the Greeks had eggplant down, try it this way. Also good in stews and curries. A real meaty veg.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I am surprised that the old stand-by spinach is not there. Do Japanese kids actually like that?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Spinach is quite nicely prepared in Japan - lightly steamed (I think; or is it pan-fried?), with sesame seeds. It doesn't look like slop, and doesn't smell bad. I've grown to really like spinach.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The eggplant is tasty and lends itself to all kinds of cuisine. These kids need to go to a Greek or Lebanese restaurant and feast on eggplants prepared properly. In Japan, nasu with dengaku miso is fine, and also little baby eggplants in karashi sauce are good over rice as a condiment. Spicy Chinese style mabo-nasu, made the same way as mabo-dofu is also tasty. It's probably my favorite vegetable and I'm constantly scanning restaurant menus for new discoveries.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

trust kids natural instincts before they are tainted by commercials, i'm sure they eat what they need, not what parents or greedy companies want them to eat

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Since, I have been living in Japan, I have grown used to eating eggplant and it's not that bad, I do enjoy it, but before I came here, it was just a nasty strange tasting purple veggie. I can't stand Goya and cucumbers and the dreaded beets, just the smell alone makes me wanna run for the hills. Goya is just fiercely god awful bad. Nothing like it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Goya is good sliced in crescents 5mm thick (discard the white pith in the middle), rub in plenty of salt and leave for at least half an hour for the bitterness to leach out; then rinse well, sprinkle liberally with herb salt and flour, and deep-fry in hot oil to a crisp. A good accompaniment to drinks or as a topping on a green salad.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Eggplant is yummy. So are most veggies - the top of my most hated list is cooked carrots, which just taste vile (but raw taste OK).

Surprised more kids don't hate asparagus - Ioathed that as a kid....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Funny, carrots and bell peppers used to be Nos. 1 & 2 in Japan. But Japanese in general eat more vegetables, and in more variety, than I remember growing up as a kid in the U.S., and I think a lot of kids here eventually outgrow their vegetable phobias.

But there's a lot more bland junk out there now, and many more parents who are not as nutrition-conscious as the previous generation, and sometime in the past decade or so, people seem to have developed an obsession with emphasizing sweet-tasting everything--including vegetables--so maybe that explains some of the changes.

I sometimes eat at a kushiage restaurant that maintains a revolving menu of about 50 items, heavy on the vegetables (asparagus, renkon, onion, garlic, mushrooms, etc. etc.); it's all chef's choice, but they ask you when you're seated if there's anything you don't care for. Almost all of the Japanese customers I've ever seen reply "I'm fine with anything." And they certainly go through lots of bowls of the free crudites (carrot, cucumber, daikon, cabbage, tomatoes)...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Funny, carrots and bell peppers used to be Nos. 1 & 2 in Japan.

My wife says that carrots always used to be the least popular among Japanese children - Japanese carrots are apparently rather bitter.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It just depends on the dish. Good dish, good vegetables.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A better study would be to cook a bunch of vegetables properly, have the kids eat them, then ask them what they like.

My feeling is that most moms don't cook eggplant or peppers "right" at all. Therefore, they are horrible. Corn? Any fool could boil corn and put some salt and butter on it and its fairly good.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When my kids were little we would sometimes have pot-luck lunches with other families. I was surprised how often a mother would put a plate of food down in front of her kid and make comments about she hoped he would 'try to eat some of the whatever, X's mum has gone to the trouble of making it' - virtually guaranteeing the kid would pick the whatever out and leave it at the side of the plate untouched - if he had to try and eat it.....No Thanks. Kids who weren't picky with their food tended to have Mums who instead said things like, 'Wow, X's mum has made ○○○! Aren't you lucky! Gosh!' (The ○○○ contained the same whatever, but it wasn't mentioned)

A bit of enthusiasm goes a long way. That and cutting disliked veggies up small so Junior doesn't notice, then gradually letting the pieces get bigger.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

One thing I have to give Japan though, they do do vegetables better here. I hated eggplant and spinache until I came to Japan. Nothing to do with being a child. Everything to do with the stuff being fresh and prepared right.

Many of my fellow Americans are leary of things like sushi. Well, when you live in a country where cheap and volume are the rule of the day, rather than good taste and willing to pay for it, well, raw fish does sound risky and bad, along with anything that takes skill to prepare. Since being here I learned to make a darn good salad, and I am sure even as a kid, I would found them at least edible.

One key is that if the lettuce and spinache are left overnight, the bottoms of the stalks are left in water in the fridge. If not, you get wilted green crap, and you don't need to be a kid to find that unappealing.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I turned many veggie haters into lovers here using overseas recipes. People love the way I prepare creamed spinach, can be arranged in many ways for both vegetarians, vegans & meat-eaters. Ditto for meats, granted many recipes ended up as fusions.

Son was weary about liver, and he is now teaching his friends our preparation method and they love it, NO smell, and soft and tender when fried. Ditto I learned quiet a bit from Cleo(Thx), etc on here too.

Got the final hurdle to breach for son, Cucumbers and Melons(myself not a big fan). He used to refuse a lot of veggies but now loves them.

He is now at a stage where he will try ANY food and say afterwards if he wants it again, but will try again with a different preparation method.

He used to refuse mixed veggies, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, etc.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Forgot cooking is a hobby of mine and I got an extensive recipe collection.

We also bake our own bread, make our own pasta, etc.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Eggplant is a fruit!

And it's one of the best!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

lol I like them all. Been liking everything lately, no hatin' over here :) even bitter melon<- which used to be my enemy lol.

I never understood american shows when they always made brocolli out to be like something disgusting... its one of the better vegetables in my opinion.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Also forgot to add most japanese love spinach and "spinach/bacon" salad is often served.

Found that about 50% of Japanese(I know) refuse to eat Mushrooms.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I used to hate spinach and red beets as a kid, my mother overfed me with that stuff. Her daily carrot juice made my face orange and I became the laughter of everyone. Nowadays, love all those veggies and i also only got to like spinach here in Japan. Just love baby spinach salad with raisins, dried apricots, walnuts a few slices of parma ham topped with parma cheese in a balsamic vinegar dressing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A Japanese boy who I've known since he was about 3 doesn't eat any veggies, according to his indulgent mother - I suggested she chop them very small and sneak them into some stew or curry rice. Oh no, can't do that, he hates sauce type things. He's now 9 and has black teeth. As has been said here, it's all in the preparation & starting em young. I was also surprised about spinach till some people pointed out that it's nicely done in Japan- love it with sesame dressing! I used to take a miso eggplant dish to O-hanami every year & always got "You can use Japanese ingredients?!" (20+ years ago). The proper Chinese "mabo nasu" is often made with a fishy base, it can be quite pungent - in Hong Kong it's called something like Yue Hong kei ji" - meaning fish aroma eggplant. Sorry, that should be aubergine!! ;)

Can't imagine that many kids like cauliflower, beyond tempura or cheese smothered.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cauliflower = Broccoli just one was left to get green, now I still got a hate/hate relationship with brussel-sprouts. Bleeergh.

Try boiled cauliflower and top it with butter stir-fried bread-crumbs till golden and a knob of butter.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Can't imagine that many kids like cauliflower

I used to love pickled cauli as a kid. My mum would yell at me for taking all the cauli out of the jar and leaving the onions. Not that I didn't like pickled onions too, but they didn't stand a chance while there were still cauli sprigs going.

And cheese smothered is great. Try putting it on a bed of chopped sauteed spinach in garlicky tomato sauce before slipping it into the oven to brown.

Whenever our local JA gets brussels sprouts in (the supermarkets never stock them) I buy up all they have, blanch and freeze them. I lerrrvvve brussels sprouts. Thankfully no one else in the family does, so I gets them all to myself.

But the best ever veggies of all time - tiny new potatoes, only just cooked and with a bit of salt and lashings of butter. Chopped parsley and/or mint to taste. Yum, yum, yum.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For no-frills home cooking, steam veges- never boil them- and only for a shortish time. That's one golden rule, for taste and nutritional reasons. Too many people reduce veges into a soggy, limp mess. They're all tasty in my opinion, if prepared correctly. Okay, goya isn't terrific, granted.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Either the kids' mothers don't know how to cook eggplant or the kids are weird. Or both.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Well maybe kids are the most hated humans amongst eggplants. Ever think of that?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You'd better watch out for the eggplant that ate Chicago, For he may eat your city soon. You'd better watch out for the eggplant that ate Chicago, If he's still hungry, the whole country's doomed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

carrots in japan are awful.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Look - I don't blame the kids. Eggplant is bloody awful. As a kid I was a bit weird though - I loved broccoli and brussels sprouts - things kids here and all over the world seem to hate!

Are they talking baout aubergine? That is a tasty veg especailly in Mousakka and many Indian dishes..

@Steve - spot on, friend. I can ONLY eat eggplant when cooked in Moussaka. Sadly I have never seen a Japanese Moussaka dish for some reason.

My all-time favourite is roasted pumpkin though!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

We had it grilled this week and tempura style and it's fantastic...don't understand how kids don't like it.. but then again, I hate green and red peppers...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Eggplant is the most delicious vegetable of all. Just japanese mothers cannot cook.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Goya is good sliced in crescents 5mm thick (discard the white pith in the middle), rub in plenty of salt and leave for at least half an hour for the bitterness to leach out; then rinse well, sprinkle liberally with herb salt and flour, and deep-fry in hot oil to a crisp. A good accompaniment to drinks or as a topping on a green salad.

Well, you can have all of them, grooooss! Absolutely the worst thing on the planet! Personally, as for eggplant recipe, I love them sauteed with my homemade habanero and garlic sauce, mixed, add some tomatoes and some basil and throw in some diced chicken over a bed or rice....heaven! As for some of the people that love Brussel sprouts, I grew them, to make sure I have an endless supply of them, that is one veggie you cannot get in Japan. Yuuummm!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

eggplant is very tasty. for kids should be cooked with other vegetables, so they dont recognize it when eating. thats what mothers should find out how. but most of the kids dont like vegetables

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sillygirl: "carrots in japan are awful"

That's just silly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@sillygirl.

Try the Baby-carrots, very sweet and tender. Also great for Salads.

Stir-fry quickly in a bit of butter, small dash of salt.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Such a pity! I can make a dish with mainly Eggplants that I love; it is really tasty! I guess the problem is in preparation. Every food needs proper processing to taste good. Japanese cooking may follow a similar recipe for different vegetables and that is why ...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Over here we love our mabu-nasu, eggplant goes well with minced meat and a tomato-sauce. Order for pizza usually includes "Sicillian" for a half/half.

Son also prefers a Moussaka to a Lasagna.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

it'sME; Moussaka is the king of aubergine dishes. They used to have fairly decent instore mossaka in Carrefour and that is in fact the only time i have eaten it in Japan. Aubergine sems fairly popular in UK and even more in soem European countries.It goes very well with mince and also seems to complement melted cheese very well. Also go very well in Indian vegetarian dishes and nice tomato based sauce and green chilies combine nicely.

-4 ( +1 / -6 )

The other week a neighbour gave us a share of her bumper aubergine crop, and after doing all the usual - tempura, bahjees, curry, yakinasu, parmigiana, shigiyaki etc., I still had some left and so I went looking for new recipes. This aubergine loaf is veggie, very tasty, and can be frozen. Goes great in butties with sliced tomatoes for lunch.

Cut 350gm or so of aubergines into pieces and whizz in the food processor to make nasu mince. Tip into a bowl. Then whizz together 3 eggs, 75 gm breadcrumbs, 50 gm cooking cheese, one sprig each of fresh basil and parsley, half a cup of olive oil (I used a bit less cos of the calories) 2 cloves garlic, 1 tbs soy sauce and plenty of salt and pepper. Mix this puree in well with the aubergine and pour into a well-greased loaf tin. (I lined mine with oven paper) Bake for 20 mins at 200 degrees C, then reduce the heat to 180 for another 15 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. Cover with a cloth and leave to stand for 10 minutes before turning out and slicing.

I defy the pickiest kid to identify it as the dreaded nasu.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Recipe saved. Thx, Cleo many of my friends are vegetarian.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I like raw egg plant dipped in raw egg.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Cleo: Try Nasu Cheese Yaki. Really tasty. Use panko instead of bread crumbs. Press your slices of egg plant between paper towels to get the excess water out before panko with egg, and frying in olive oil. Make your own red sauce for it. Kids love it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Complaints of kids and adults alike about vegetables would disappear if

1) One could lay hands on real fresh produce (which is rare) 2) People would learn to cook

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Cut 350gm or so of aubergines into pieces and whizz in the food processor to make nasu mince. Tip into a bowl. Then whizz together 3 eggs, Etc, etc

I am going to try that, thanks!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

if

1) One could lay hands on real fresh produce (which is rare)

One thing I love about Japan is the freshness of the produce. I walk/cycle past the fields where the stuff is growing on my way to the JA farmer's market; the stuff couldn't be any fresher except perhaps if I picked it myself. Mind, folks in Tokyo don't have it so good. My mil goes crazy-veggie-shopping whenever she comes up here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Eggplant? I like it even when I was little. I guess bell pepper, tomato, and green onion were more unpopular among kids.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I concur with Cleo about goya (bitter melon). Very nice steamed, raw or stir-fried. Really livens up cha-han. Also simmered and in stews. The bitterness is an acquired taste, but if you like spinach, kale, collard greens and ta-sai, you’ll enjoy well-prepared goya. Too bad it’s a bit on the pricey side in Hokaido (200 – 250 yen for an average-sized goya).

My mum would yell at me for taking all the cauli out of the jar and leaving the onions. Not that I didn't like pickled onions too, but they didn't stand a chance while there were still cauli sprigs going.

More indications of Cleo's troubled childhood. ;)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Too bad it’s a bit on the pricey side in Hokaido (200 – 250 yen for an average-sized goya).

Wow, poor Nessie, that is steep. Normal summer price here is around 100 yen, but this year they're free; everyone planted 'green curtains' and has more than they can eat. The neighbours are giving them away.

More indications of Cleo's troubled childhood

lol Amazing I turned out as gradely as I did.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@cleo

Pickled cauliflower? Never heard of that. Did you cook it before you pickled it, or was it raw?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

lucabrasi.

Also pretty common in central europe, usually part of a big bottle of pickled vegetables.

Problem as cleo said is that family members raid it for their fav stuff.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@It''S ME

Thanks. Sounds good, I'll have to try it. I love cauliflower :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@lucabrasi.

If you are in japan just hit kaldi or a similar store(miyuraya, kinokuniya, etc) and they will stock. Only seen the german brands sold here though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'll look out for it, It''s ME. Thank you :)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

lucabrasi - You never seen those big jars of mixed pickles? (Maybe they just seemed big because I was still little at the time...) Little onions (that were still a bit bigger than the posh 'cocktail' onions) and little sprigs of cauli all packed in tight in vinegar, with one tiny gherkin that always got left till last because no one in wor family liked gherkins.

It's ME - they have them in Japan? I never even thought to look......Oh joy....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@cleo

No, I don't recall them. Sound a bit adventerous for my family's taste though. We never got much beyond fish-fingers and crispy pancakes....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes with eggplant are sublime!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Forgot to say that Japanese eggplants are too small. I prefer the ones sold in the supermarket with the name "American", they are big and suitable for various dishes, like stuffed eggplants yum yum.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Forgot to say that Japanese eggplants are too small. I prefer the ones sold in the supermarket with the name "American", they are big and suitable for various dishes, like stuffed eggplants yum yum.

I agree! If you're gonna eat eggplants, they should really have some meat on them. Two years ago, I brought some eggplant seeds and some potatoes with me on the plane, planted them and now enjoy some very meaty potatoes and eggplants. Don't like the small stuff either.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese eggplants are too small

You can get aubergines in Japan that are smaller than an egg, or the size of melon, long and thin or spherical. The most popular are about the same size as a naughty part of the anatomy (some are longer than others :-))

http://vegetable.alic.go.jp/panfu/nas/nas.htm

I had never associated 'beinasu (米なす) with 'American' aubergines, always assumed (if I thought at all) that it had something to do with rice - like they planted them next to the rice fields, watered them with rice water, etc. You learn something every day.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My point was that in general, "eggplants in Japan" are usually maybe the size of an anatomy. The bigger ones are more difficult to get, NOT impossible, but more difficult. I need something more mastodonic in size.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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