“Mom, what is this?” Magdalena shouted. “I told you I hate vegetables!”

“Well dear,” her mother said, “you need to learn to like them. They’re good for you. Better than candy. You need to eat your vegetables, and enjoy them.”

“But Mom, they’re disgusting!”

“Then you better learn fast, because that’s all you’re getting from now on.”

Magdalena looked at her plate. Steamed carrots, broccoli, and asparagus. Boiled cauliflower. Raw celery, cucumber, and tomato. All arranged like wedges of pie on her plate.

“It’s gross though! Vegetables are so stupid, just blah blah, look at us. Eat us, because we’re healthy. Maybe if they tasted like anything.”

“Then here, have some balsamic vinegar,” Magdalena’s mother placed a bottle of dark liquid in front of her. “And you can put a slice of cheese on the cauliflower if you want,” she said, putting two slices of cheddar on a plate beside the vinegar.

“Gross! Cheese on vegetables? What the hell Mom?”

“Suit yourself,” her mother said. “But that’s all you’re getting. Eat it or starve, kiddo.”

Magdalena folded her arms in front of her and sulked. Her mother sat across from her, slicing a steak and placing it in her mouth, savouring every bite, refusing to meet Magdalena’s gaze.

When she finished her meal, she stood, leaving her daughter to keep sitting at the table, hungry but unwilling to give in. The girl sat until her bedtime, then went to bed, hungry but feeling triumphant. Her mother was patient, though, more patient than Magdalena knew.


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