Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Veggie Tales

I walked around for two weeks with a recipe for Zucchini and Orzo in my purse and I have no idea why. It’s not as if I was reverse-mugged and someone left it in my bag. I actually read the recipe in a magazine and tore it out while thinking “Dinner in fifteen minutes, that’s convenient!” I should have been thinking, “There are many things I find unappetizing which I can make in fifteen minutes. I bet if I looked hard enough, I could find a recipe for socks in cream sauce which only takes fifteen minutes.”

I think of zucchini not as a delicious vegetable, but as something unpleasant which can happen to your yard if you aren’t vigilant. Oh crud, the zucchini’s back. Someone grab me the Round-Up. Please don’t tell me about your delicious zucchini bread recipe; if I mixed walnuts, two kind of sugar, cinnamon and raisins with a long-tailed skink it would taste good. The zucchini is just riding on the coattails of more delectable ingredients.

Also, at least one member of our household is currently cutting back on his carbohydrates, so pasta is pretty much verboten. In short, this recipe had two major ingredients and I had issues with both. And yet, I tore it out. Since then, each time I visit the grocery store, I remove from my purse a wrinkled and increasingly illegible reminder that things are going to be different between me and zucchini.

Being as I don’t eat meat and -- with rare exceptions -- haven’t since I was 14, I have developed a comprehensive history with vegetables [as my carnivorous friends refer to them: Those Things Next to My Lamb Chops]. I daresay I have eaten all of the major vegetables of the world in one way or another. I have had them steamed, fried, sautéed, raw with dipping sauce, pureed and arranged to look like corsages. If you can legally do it to a vegetable, I have seen it on my plate. Some I have always loved. Some I have grown to love. Some I have grown to like. Some I eat not because I find them appealing at all but because they are filled with antioxidants (Kale, I’m looking at you).

But there are some vegetables I simply do not like, and twenty years of drizzling olive oil over them and piling mashed potatoes under them has not changed my opinion one iota. For the sake of the magazines at Doctor’s offices, I have to accept there is no recipe which will turn these around for me. So, today, in honor of Thanksgiving, I will bid a not-fond farewell to:

OKRA: A vegetable where the highest compliment it gets is, “This is much less slimy than usual!” And don’t try to bring up jambalaya; that’s just okra sliding in under the cover of an andouille sausage, a deeply flavored roux, and a culture which puts a wine list next to your breakfast order.

BEETS: If I need the flavor of a beet, I’ll save myself the effort of preparation and just lick a crosswalk light. Really, how much iron flavoring is one person supposed to enjoy? Even with mild anemia, the sight of a beet salad fills me with despair. I'd rather be pale than eat a beet.

PEAS: This one is complicated and perhaps should not be on the list. I like raw peas and I like Chinese snow peas, but I hate cooked peas with such a passion that my loathing negates whatever good feelings I have about their less odious cousins. There is something about the mushy yet vaguely belligerent texture that reminds me of a person who bumps into you, apologizes meekly, then mumble something like “Dumbass” as he walks away. Hey, dude, either say it to my face or wait until I am out of earshot. Hey, peas, either completely succumb to my teeth or make a real fight of it. Collapsing upon contact with my fork, only to wedge yourself between my front teeth is just passive-aggressive. I don’t like it in a pedestrian, and I won’t take it in a legume.


Of course, if I am coming to your house and you are serving these things, I’m just kidding. Really. Don’t put yourself out. Nothing like a composed beet salad, followed by Okra Five Ways, with a side dish of Double-Cooked Pea Casserole to thrill my epicurean palate.

Now, on a completely unrelated topic, you have big napkins, right?

Or a dog?

Happy Thanksgiving. On the shockingly long list of things I am thankful for, readers who read me, write me and come back for more are up there. I'll try to keep making it worth your while.

9 Comments:

Blogger houseband00 said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!

All those hilarious stories and words of encouragement you have shared really are blessings I have to be thankful for. Thank you!

Keep em coming!

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Cathy said...

I have to admit, I agree with you on the peas. But I do like beets (but only pickled) and okra (but only breaded and fried--it cuts down on the slime factor). But after tomorrow I'll probably be wondering what on earth posessed me to do a full Thanksgiving dinner--for 2 people and 4 cats. Sigh.

4:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And to think that I thought I was one of the only people who think cooked peas are the work of the Devil! Snow peas... wonderfull... regular peas... ick!

8:07 AM  
Blogger Mel said...

Well. I guess I won't send you that Okra/Pea/Zucchini/Beet Gift Basket I have all ready to go.

Happy Thanksgiving!

10:41 AM  
Blogger Monica said...

On beets and peas I agree (Though I do put on a good face for the kids where those little green balls are concerned) but, have you had okra in Bhindi Masala? Now that even my 6 year old will eat.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your blog. It is smart, witty, and hilarious.

I heard my husband laughing out loud one night, while reading one of your entries. He was very stressed because of a remodeling project and your blog gave him some needed comic relief.

A friend gave my twins the book " 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving" by Dav Pilkey, in which school children visit a turkey farm and save the friendly turkeys from the farmer's ax. After reading it, my daughter announced that she was not going to eat turkey. This is the same 5-year-old child that, upon seeing wild turkeys in the neighborhood last spring, shocked us by shouting, "Let's kill one and eat it!"

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Lydia

7:39 PM  
Blogger Jan said...

Are you and your readers eating canned peas? Because I'm pretty sure the devil thought up the canning of peas to keep people from eating fresh, hot peas with butter and dill, which are really (really!) very good. Canned peas have as much in common with fresh peas as fig newtons with figs. (As if that cleared it up).

Either way, I'll keep my peas away from you if you'll keep those green bell peppers out of sight.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Melissa said...

I'm with you on beets and okra, but feel free to pass your zucchini and peas over to me. Of course, there is such a thing as too much zucchini - defined as anything more than the production from a single zucchini plant in your garden (and only for half the production time that plant would personally prefer).

7:02 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Several weeks ago, a friend sent me your blog link and I have been hooked ever since! I can't remember ever laughing so hard just from reading! In the spirit of the holidays, Health and Happiness to you and your family and please, don't ever stop doing 'stupid things'!

PS On the subject of okra, don't let anyone try to convince you that if you fry it, it gets crunchy! There are no napkins big enough!

1:09 PM  

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