I never ate my vegetables. The vegetable products usually came from a can or from a freezer. And those poor vegetables were usually cooked for a long, long time. Spinach, peas, carrots, string beans, greens, cauliflower, broccoli; all cooked beyond form, shape and taste. I stared at them, and they stared (can vegetable stare?) at me. Since I could not leave the table until my plate was clean, I was always the last family member at the dinner table.
Then I left home for college. Different people, places, and food. A few vegetables made the A-List.
Raw spinach, lightly steamed broccoli, and green beans-yay!
Fast forward to today. I’ve been a member of a CSA (community supported agriculture) for several years. In a CSA a member purchases a share or box of fresh, local product from a farmer. The member pays up front, which is very helpful for the farmer, and also shares the risk (drought, flooding, insects) with the farmer. This sharing arrangement has provided me with the opportunity to learn to eat more foods, including vegetables, in season.
I wasn’t that crazy about radishes, but when they arrived in my box six weeks in a row, my taste buds began to show proper appreciation.
I was so sure that I was not going to eat those stunted-looking, misshapen, curvy carrots. Once I took that first bite, I learned that they were sweet, tender, and tasty beyond imagination!
And eggplant. Why would anyone want to risk eating a member of the nightshade family? What about all those medieval superstitions? I learned to slice and roast and enjoy the aubergine jewel in seasoned olive oil.
Beets? They’re so red, and earthy. Now I dice and eat red and golden beets raw in a vegetable salad with a wonderful rainbow of colors. Who knew that beets would taste so sweet?
These new eating adventures have provided me with the confidence that I just *might* be able to survive on local and regional foods; that I won’t vanish from the earth without bananas, kiwis, pineapple, and coconut; that my taste buds can grown and learn, just as I have grown and learned.
I am thankful to farmers for the partnership of providing me with new food and eating “growth opportunities.” (pun intended) You can find a CSA near you by searching www.LocalHarvest.org.
Now, what to do with ALL those peppers?! I’m staring at them, and they really are staring at me.