Or, How a Vegetable Hater Bottomed Out and Then Saw the Truth, the Light and the Way of Anthocyanins.
Have I ever told you how much I hate vegetables? I hate them THIS MUCH!
That is, until recently. Something happened that has caused me to eat more vegetables in the last three weeks than I have in my entire life. Stuff I’ve never heard of, seen before or even knew existed.
I had 27 meat tenderizers but never owned a garlic press.
Why no garlic press before now? Because I didn’t know what one was or how to use it. Or how to take garlic apart. Or how to cook it. Or anything!
So what happened to me? I found vegetable Jesus.
I was down and out on my luck, eating back-alley pizza for breakfast and half-eaten Hostess Cherry pies for lunch. I was unemployed and living in the gutter with one hand out and the other clenching a brown paper bag concealing a bottle of whatever flavored McDonald’s milkshakes I could find in local dumpsters.
Then one day, I heard some lady preaching about how the fruits and vegetables of our ancestors are much different than what we eat today. How we’ve domesticated all the medicinal benefits of food in favor of asthetics and taste and consistency. I was hooked. I bought the book. I highlighted sentences. And then I went shopping.
Who the hell knows if I’m shrinking cancer tumors or preventing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. All I know is I have learned how to make vegetables not just unyucky, but actually tasty. And it only took half a century. Well, almost. I probably shouldn’t be walking around declaring that I’m fifty years old, especially since it’s still a precious few months away, but who cares, really.
I even signed up for a weekly CSA box. Except I’m experiencing such an extreme veggie makeover that I’m disappointed if they give me the green kale instead of the red kale. Or mostly white carrots instead of purple carrots. And they don’t have hard-necked garlic??? Are you kidding me? With Gilroy, the garlic capital of the world, practically right around the corner? Like a true born-again evangelist, I’m a veggie snob. Hallelujah!
If I can get my lazy ass out of bed early enough, I will have to check out the farmers markets around town, because we are not just THE capital (capitol?) of California, we have recently declared ourselves the Farm to Fork Capital of the U.S. Or the world. I forget which. Anyway, surely I can expect uber-fresh and purple veggies from this Farm-to-Fork capital, right?
I would start my own garden except that we host many critters under our deck that would say, “Martha! They’ve just opened up a Hometown Buffet next door–grab the kids we’re going out tonight!” We’ve got birds and squirrels and skunks and they would tell all their friends at Happy Hour down by the river to come over to the All You Can Eat, dine and dash establishment in their backyard. No thank you.
I never ate vegetables before because I figured, why eat nasty or bland or bitter food if I was potentially wasting my time? I assumed our vegetables had no more nutrients left in them, and I wasn’t going to eat them in the off chance they were healthy. I wanted guarantees. And this book does that.
What book am I talking about that I’m not getting paid to endorse?
It’s called Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson and it’s awesome. Full of information like which varieties to shop for, how to store them at home, whether or not to cook them, and what all the health benefits are for each one. For example, did you know that you should let garlic sit for at least 10 minutes after you’ve pressed it before cooking it, or else you lose most of the health benefits?
Look, I’m lazy. And this book convinced me that even I can eat better. I don’t need to go out and buy all kinds of kitchen equipment (I don’t have a food processor or a pressure cooker or a double boiler or a Vita-mix, although I would really like one of those.) The only thing I bought was a garlic press. In fire engine red.
I’m so excited about this whole venture that I want to start a website that helps people who hate vegetables learn to like them through education and tasty recipes. I want them to know how to get the most nutritional bang for their buck and not wasting their time eating the ones that just take up space in our lives. Like iceberg lettuce. Stop eating that crap. It’s a pointless vegetable if there ever was one.
The problem is, ihateveggies.com was already taken, so I’ve put together an exploratory committee to do some research and I think I found the perfect domain and you may see it coming soon to an Internet browser near you.
Did you also know that cooking potatoes, then chilling them for 24 hours before you eat them (you can reheat them) lowers their glycemic levels and doesn’t spike your blood sugar as much? I know! You want to hear something more crazy? I had vegetables for breakfast. Breakfast, people! Can I get an amen?
When I win the award for Best Veggie Hater in a Leading Role, I will be thanking my husband for allowing me to stink up the house and myself with all the garlic and onions. After I thank the academy and the vegetable Jesus, of course.