Following my knee operation, my doctor informed me that I'd developed borderline anemia. I don't even know how that's possible. Since the new administration took over, I'm afraid to cross any borders.

My physician suggested I focus on a healthy, high-protein diet, heavy on foods like kale, spinach, hearty cuts of beef, and a bowl of Raisin Bran every day. Fortunately these are already some of my food faves-including the spinach-which I even liked when I was a kid. I remember being skeptical of the television marketing for that vegetable, though. They tried to convince me that eating spinach would help me attract the opposite sex. I was not in the market for anyone who looked like Olive Oyl.

Most vegetables represented a special challenge during my childhood. The grown-ups needed a way to make me consume them, and I needed a fun way to play with them...and to avoid having to eat them.

Carrots: In my house, we always ate carrots raw. I have no memory of my mother ever cooking them, except that a few always crept into her beef stew. Just for color, she'd say. My grandmother always stressed they were good for our eyes and her proof was that we never saw dead rabbits on the road. Possum corpses, on the other hand, were strewn everywhere. "Possums hate carrots," my grandmother informed me. I know now what a bunch of hooey that was, but darn, that was a pretty good piece of propaganda, don'tcha think? I still like carrots and have never been hit by a car. Thanks, Grandma.

Cauliflower: I hated cauliflower. It looked like somebody's bleached brain. (Hopefully someone I never knew.) But my mother saw my distaste as some kind of a challenge to her cooking abilities, so she would drizzle browned butter over the top of the stuff. She could have drizzled browned butter over a wine cork and I'd have eaten it. Nowadays I don't see cauliflower being served as a side dish much. It's usually part of a medley. Cauliflower is like a tuba: it works in concert, so to speak. Tubas and cauliflower seldom go it alone.

Broccoli: Apparently, I ate a lot of broccoli when I was a youngster but I didn't know it till I was 18. I knew there was something hidden under that wonderful cheesey sauce, but I was afraid to look until I graduated from high school.

Peas: We never had fresh peas at home. Just canned. I'm not sure anyone in my family knew that peas came from a pod. They looked like ammunition from my BB gun and there was no way I could get them on my fork, because they scattered all over the plate like buckshot when I tried to capture a few. A spoon would work to accomplish the task of scooping up the peas, but such activity was frowned upon and considered uncouth. The best technique to tackle the issue was to roll up the peas in my mashed potatoes. It looked like a piece of kryptonite.

Would you like hear what I thought of Brussels sprouts and okra?

Did you say "No thank you"?

Dick Wolfsie has written 12 books and has been a television personality for 30 years. His humor column appears weekly in The Times.