“Tiny pellets of poison” what a friend calls peas. Personally, I don’t have any problem with peas as long as they’re not mushy and are mixed in a creamy white sauce, tossed with penne, and topped with crispy prosciutto. Everything is better with crispy prosciutto.
I told someone recently that I don’t really like vegetables. That’s not really true, though, I love artichokes, asparagus, zucchini, nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers), and any member of the allium family. I’ll take a tart, crunchy salad any day, loaded with lettuce and cucumbers and radishes and celery and shredded multicolor carrots. I like some vegetables.
It’s probably more accurate to say that admonishments to “eat your vegetables” and news extolling vegetables’ virtues have only served to turn me off. They’re just not being presented in a delicious way, and I just don’t have much innate desire for dandelion greens or kale. I’m not like that mom who turned to me that cool Tuesday morning while chaperoning a Kid Two field trip as asked, “I just crave cruciferae this time of year, don’t you?” No. I’ve recently developed a fondness for fennel and parsnip, but I don’t dream of roasted beets. No cooing over cauliflower. Squash and yams are challenging to cook with. Just smelling broccoli makes me queasy, as it has ever since I was pregnant with Kid One. And Brussels sprouts? Big shiver. It was over between us after The Worst Dinner I Ever Ate – LL’s 50th birthday dinner – which infamously finished with Brussels sprouts crème brûlée. Truly disgusting. I’ve since noticed that fall’s fields of ripe Brussels sprouts give off the odor of skunky cat pee.
The boys don’t seem to have any of my vegetable baggage. Together they munch their way through almost a pound of baby carrots per day. Roasted corn with butter and garlic salt feels like a reasonable breakfast. Mushrooms, sliced zucchini, and olives on the pizza, please, and go light on the cheese. A perfect dinner is a plate of veggie stir-fry – bok choy, green beans, snow peas, bean sprouts, carrots, ginger, and garlic – all cooked together with a little fish sauce and pepper and served on a heaping mound of rice. That’s actually what I’m making for dinner as soon as I’m finished typing this post; it’s more work than a burger but can’t be beat for self-congratulatory feel-good mom points.
But I need a bit more prodding to get all of my veggies. It was easy to imagine an artichoke and side salad could fill the necessary food pyramid sliver. But now that the USDA got rid of that crazy thing and came up with the more streamlined Food Plate, it’s hard to hide behind the visual reminder that fully half of the food in any meal should consist of fruits and vegetables. So my latest strategy for getting all my veggies – drinking them.
This is a daunting pile of produce to face for breakfast:
Run them through a juicer, though, and it’s much easier to face in a glass. Prettier, too:
I feel like Wonder Woman after a big glass of the stuff. Seriously. No perfectly seasoned plate of stir-fry has ever made me feel as good as a glass of freshly juiced veggies. Maybe these dietitians are really on to something!