I’ve earned a most unfortunate reputation. According to many of my friends and family, I don’t eat vegetables. Especially if they are green – any green vegetable. Some how I am reported to subsist mainly on beef, bread and Pepsi with the occasionally bowl of chips.
I wish to report that this is totally false and claim that I do eat a wide variety vegetables. It is true that my tastes do tend more to the food provided by hunters rather than gatherers. I’ve thought about this at some length to try and understand why I have this reputation, even after eating a spinach salad in front of witnesses.
After due consideration I’ve come to the conclusion that the culprit is, broccoli.
Have you noticed that in a restaurant the menu item, “Fresh Vegetable” is usually broccoli, sometimes with carrots and often it’s frozen not fresh. Try to order a nice side of say peas and carrots and you’ll get odd looks from the waiter and suggestions from the manager that you eat somewhere else.
This is where I make the big announcement: I hate broccoli. I hate the taste, texture, color, smell and even the very thought that it is on the same planet as me. It is vile loathsome stuff and I don’t wish to eat it, or even have it touch food that might enter my mouth.
For those of you who now think it’s the right time to sing the virtues of broccoli or try to convince me that if I just had it cooked right… Just stop. Please. I am a million years old and have attempted to like the stuff – covering it with cheese, butter, gravy or wine doesn’t help. If you like the evil stuff, good for you. Would you like my portion?
There, I feel better. Don’t you? It is said that confession is good for the soul. So while we’re at it, let me add that cauliflower and brussels sprouts are also on my list of hated veggies. Okay, I’ll admit that I also dislike watercress, chard and kale. Cilantro tastes like soap and I will avoid radishes and prefer kidney to garbanzo beans but on the whole, I eat a wide range of foods that grow on plants.
I will admit never having eaten black-eyed peas or seeking them out as a gastric delight. Serve them to me once and I’ll give them a try. But don’t bury broccoli in beef with a fancy sauce and expect me to react as if it’s some new tasty culinary adventure.
As I age, I’ve tried to tone down my militant attitude towards broccoli and it’s related vile, evil cousins. Now when someone attempts to serve broccoli, I try to politely point out, “There are other vegetables other than broccoli.” I smile when I say it. Soon, I hope to relax enough that I don’t say it through girted teeth.
Rather than focus on the veggie that shall now remain nameless, I’d like to share a list of vegetables I will and do eat. Before we start that list, I’d like to point out that I’ll eat all fruits, but prefer apples to oranges and I haven’t found a grain I don’t like – well couscous is a bit weird but edible.
Have I mentioned that I eat a salad for lunch most days of the week? Like five out of seven. Just wanted that on the record.
So to the list of veggies I like:
- All beans, even bean sprouts but do find the notion of garbanzo beans to be a bit odd.
- Carrots, raw, baked, boiled, glazed – well with butter and brown sugar, what’s not to like?
- Lettuce of all kinds, except wilted
- Cucumber, even a nice cucumber sandwich I will happily eat
- Bell peppers – green, yellow, red
- All onions, yellow, white, green, red, garlic, leeks and I have come to terms with shallots
- Eggplant – can you say eggplant parmesan?
- Artichokes but I am not fond of the hearts
- Green beans (note the use of the word ‘green’)
- Corn – on my list even though certain ‘nutritionists’ are claiming it’s a grain
- Mushrooms – okay maybe not technically a vegetable but it’s in the produce section of the store
- Rhurbarb when baked into a pie with strawberries
- Potatoes – russet, red, yellow, sweet, yams and in Hawaii I’ve eaten taro and liked it
- Spinach – most Sunday nights I have a spinach pizza and love spinach in salads
- Squash, yellow, butternut, pumpkin
I haven’t mentioned tomatoes yet. As the saying goes, being intelligent is knowing that a tomato is really a fruit but wisdom is knowing not to put them in fruit salad. I would be justified in not talking about tomatoes, but will press on even though I don’t have to. I have an odd relationship with tomatoes. I love them cut up and cooked into a nice sauce, stew, soup or chilli, but raw in a salad I just won’t do. I have managed to expand my tomato horizon and allow them to be placed in my sandwich or burger where I will eat them, but still I can’t come to terms with fried tomatoes.
There you have it – a long list of vegetables that I will consume and not one of the is “that-which-will-not-be-named.” So the next time the “B” word crosses your mind, remember there are other vegetables.
Till next week,