Eat Up! It’s National Vegetarian Week!

vegetable mandala s

“Eat up, eat up,” their mother said.
She told them to eat up.
The children studied hard the plate;
the viands, patient, lay in wait.
She told them to eat up.
They tried distraction with their words–
“Remember the time we saw those birds?”
–they kept on talking–“Then we followed
home a sparrow and a swallow!”
She told them to eat up.
They moved their forks, they moved their spoons;
they played at drinking from their cup;
they sighed and asked to be excused–
she told them to eat up.

(with apologies to Edward Lear)

vegetable mandala close up s

 My mother almost never served fresh vegetables when I was growing up, except in summer when we got tomatoes and corn from the local farm stand, or when we had guests.  The rest of the time it was out of cans, boiled in water (remember those square carrots in the mixed vegetables?).  I think if she had served us a plate of what I drew above from my refrigerator, she would never have had to negotiate with us to eat all our food.

vvoice food s

I’ve been in a bit of a creative funk lately, but when I saw the cover of the Village Voice this week, I knew I needed to do my own food mandala.  Another contribution to Charlie’s doodlewash dinners.

The words from the secret keeper’s challenge this week
and Edward Lear provided inspiration for my memories of childhood dinners.

I’m not a vegetarian, but it’s a good week for everybody to remember to eat plenty of vegetables!

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40 responses to “Eat Up! It’s National Vegetarian Week!”

  1. merrildsmith says :

    I LOVE your drawing! Your Lear-inspired poem was funny, and I could imagine the kids at the table.
    I don’t ever remember food negotiations when I was growing up, nor with my own children. No problems with vegetables either. We always ate fresh or frozen and lots of salads.

    • memadtwo says :

      Our dinners were constant negotiations growing up. I never understood why my mother didn’t just serve us vegetables we liked and would eat! She even criticized when I did that for my own children. A mystery.
      And it’s good to get back to some drawing.

  2. Laura (Createarteveryday) says :

    Yup. Still hate veggies from a can! Beautiful design, colors and your LINES. Oh I just love your expressive lines. Wonderful, Kerfe. And I can feel the mother’s frustration in your verse! You’ve got poetry and art pairings down to a science! 💜

  3. abarn003 says :

    I love this! Gimme all the veggies!

  4. Jodi says :

    That is an AWESOME Veggie Mandala! This is one of my faves of yours Kerfe! I love seeing your drawing!!!

  5. memadtwo says :

    That poem is so good! You are really a versatile poet. And I love the sketch, so nice and breezy and symmetrical. Will definitely eat some vegetables tonight. (I hate when people call them veggies. It’s so rude.) N.

    • memadtwo says :

      Lately the produce looks so good, we’ve just been cutting them up and eating as is. In most cases, I like fresh better than cooked. I had fun with the Edward Lear…can’t always be serious.

  6. Lynz Real Cooking says :

    Love this one! The creative funk looks like it’s broken! This is lovely

  7. Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash) says :

    Yay to vegetarian week! I’m nearly one… so this will be easy! hehe… And FAB doodlewash! Love how it’s such a wonderful graphic pattern. Should be one actually. 😉 But the poetry made me really smile. Loved that… so well written!

  8. Janice says :

    I love your veggie Mandala and fun poem.
    I agree, fresh veggies are for everyone to celebrate.

  9. Susan Feniak says :

    A veggie mandala, who would have thought? So beautifully done too. I am visualizing the dinner table eat your veg battles and remembering a few fought here. Rarely won but the consequence was no dessert! I don’t think anyone excuses themselves from a table anymore, do they? You are right, a different era.

    • memadtwo says :

      We had a no dessert rule too. But my mother often made us sit and eat at least some part of everything too. I gagged at the lima beans, so always tried to slip them under the table to the dog…

      • Susan Feniak says :

        Lima beans were never my favourite and of course with my luck the dog didn’t like them either. Gagged down as many as I could. Canned peas were ultimately the worst thing ever created to torture a kid. Give me a fresh salad any day. 🙂

      • memadtwo says :


  10. Jennifer G. Knoblock says :

    This is so vibrant and fun and delicious! I’m going to get my artistic children drawing the flowers and herbs and vegetables in our yard.

  11. Sharon Mann says :

    Wonderful art and poem Kerfe. I remember the canned veggies. I couldn’t stand the peas. But, I did like the fruit cocktail in a can. My brother and I would always fight over the one cherry.

  12. Jill Kuhn says :

    I like the looseness in your drawing – makes me want to eat more veggies that are fresh! I’m not one for canned veggies either. 😉

  13. Melba Christie at Poemattic says :

    I wanted to pick up the celery stick to dip it in some ranch dressing. Loved the drawing.

  14. Sand Salt Moon says :

    Funk be damned – this is very creative. Eating my veggies. Love your veggie mandala.

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