Friday, April 11, 2014

In Which I Destroy Civilization

My dear friend Kim gave me a wonderful book, "An Everlasting Meal," which is making me realize I have been taught to think that vegetables are dangerous, temperamental, edgy, easy-to-ruin cookstuffs, rather than the amiable, durable, almost-impossible-to-wreck home buddies they actually are. You can effing boil them and mash them up if you want to. You can eat them hot, cold, or room temperature. You can reheat them without being a Goth and destroying civilization. All this crap about rushing them home from the store and lightly steaming them at the last minute and eating them hot, well, sure, that's good, but it's a lot of trouble and fine timing; and fact is, at the store they've just been sitting in the refrigerator (if not the freezer) for days anyway.

I wonder how many people besides me have been driven away from them by the stigma associated with – quelle horreur! – overcooked vegetables? There is something far, far worse than overcooked vegetables, and that's no vegetables at all. I have been microwaving my broccoli for the last few days, like the wicked old man I am, and I'm perfectly happy with it. I am never going to be a foodie. I enjoy my food enormously, always have -- I can savor quite horrible junk food -- and generally speaking this capacity for enjoyment seems to me a quality to be cultivated, not destroyed. I don't want to have a delicate palate: I want to eat my food with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of health and get on with my life.

8 comments:

Zhoen said...

I love steaming my veggies. Usually they come frozen out of bags. Or I microwave them with whatever else I could throw in a sealed dish to scarf quickly at work.

It's really easy to grow lettuce at home, too.

Tom said...

But all too often the process invoked in order "to eat my food with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of health" is a non sequitur. I'm not entirely certain, even though I do not wish to be cantankerously oppositional to your experiential interaction with vegetables, that no veg is better than ruined veg. For 'ruined' read overcooked.

For example, neither Brussel sprouts mush nor courgette (zucchini) splosh should be allowed to exist in a civilised universe. (Okay, so the universe isn't civilised - so far as we know - and mush and splosh do exist.) So what the hell!

Sabine said...

We are extremely crude and negligent in our (50% vegetarian) household, we ususally just throw the stuff in a wok with a handful of ginger and some soy sauce or bake it with lost of garlic, rosemary and oil. Works with everything.
But salad, that is: any green leaves and tomato or radish (depending on the season) and avocado and a handful of dry roasted pine nuts, salad is holy.

marly youmans said...

This makes me feel like a Luck Child. I am married to a man who love to cook, and so I neglect most of the agonies of the kitchen--and if one doesn't have to cook dinner every day, it's pleasant to cook a meal.

Beryl S. Bissell said...

Aha. Dare we mention "overcooked." We eat lots of vegetables as vegans and, sigh, unfortunately we sometimes have to eat them overcooked.

Dale said...

Marly, yes, Martha and I blundered by failing to include a cook in this marriage. I don't know what we were thinking of.

Linda said...

Even though I enjoy vegetables very much, I tend to forget about them in the refigerator until it's too late, so I do best with frozen vegetables. (Which you don't have to buy in expensive little packets from the store freezer -- chop thefresh ones up the day you get them and seal them up yourself!) So convenient! The texture is not the best, but it's also not terrible, especially if I am hungry and they are mixed with some other starch or protein. And it is much better than not having them at all.

Nimble said...

I will think of you and feel wicked myself when I use the microwave! The veg trouble for me resides in the chopping, oh the time-consuming chopping. I like oven roasting vegetables which requires little or no chopping and sometimes caramelizes them.