Solvay kids take a walk on the vegetarian side

For most children, vegetables are the least appetizing part of any meal. So how would the average kid react to not just any vegetarian dish - but veggie lasagna?

Friday marked the first of three kid's vegetarian cooking classes held at the Solvay Public Library. Four girls attended the class and were apprehensive, to say the least, at the thought of a favorite comfort food undergoing the vegetarian transition. When it was revealed the dish would also be dairy free they were in disbelief:

"No dairy?" asked Kaley Scandalle, 12.

Lead by Sally Hafner, a registered nurse and lifelong vegetarian - her parents raised her on the meatless diet they had adopted in college - the class lead the girls through the preparation of vegetarian lasagna and a "chocolate" dessert that substituted carob for cocoa.

Marion Lake, a Syracuse resident who has volunteered at the library and was helping Hafner with the class, acknowledged that kids are usually not as fond of vegetables as older adults, but she was optimistic.

"We're really going to get healthy tonight," she said at the start of the class. Lake started a vegetarian diet several years ago as part of her fight against cancer, and lost her appetite for meat.

Though at the beginning of class two participants admitted they were coerced into signing up in order to find an appreciation for vegetables, all four agreed that veggies were not high on their lists of favorite foods.

Mike Carter, whose daughter Jillian, 8, was attending the cooking class, said he hoped the class would help incorporate more vegetables into their diet.

"She doesn't eat vegetables as a rule," Carter said, half-joking. His daughter confirmed his statement a few minutes later, telling Hafner she joined the class to see what vegetarians ate and that she did not particularly like most vegetables.

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