Letter: Indian children like vegetables

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Sir: Professor Hastings' call for a change in the "cultural position" of vegetables (" ... but the carrots may taste of prawn cocktail", 22 January) is more easily said than done, given the reference to "gruesome greens" in your leading article.

There would have to be a seismic shift in British culinary habits and attitudes to vegetables, to bring about the view that a good meal should consist of an assortment of vegetables and lentils with some meat in addition.

In India, which is probably the only country in the world that offers a highly evolved and self-sufficient vegetarian cuisine, children are rarely averse to vegetables and the large variety of greens are never "gruesome". Each vegetable (quite a few unheard of in Britain) is prized for its distinct flavour and other properties and would not be subjected to brutal boiling, except for potatoes and other root vegetables. Vegetables should be slowly braised and flavoured with a few herbs and/or whole spices to make a delicious dish.

Would the average Briton believe that a vegetable tasted different according to whether it had been chopped, sliced, diced, cubed, shredded, pureed or left whole in cooking? Or that there is sheer poetry in the stacks of succulent vegetables on offer at an early morning vegetable market in India?

Vegetables deserve tenderness.

MALATHY SITARAM

Swindon, Wiltshire

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