Friday, February 7, 2014

These Can't Be the Same Tastebuds?

Here I am, eating a sandwich for lunch.

This, in and of itself, is nothing worth posting about.  Except for one thing.

There is no tomato slice.  There is no slice of fresh lettuce (or spinach).  There are no small slices of sweet pepper.  It is pretty much some grass-fed beef, a few condiments and some bread.

And I find that sad.

And, that, my friends, is what is exceptional about the entire situation.  Rob finds it sad that he doesn't have spinach, lettuce, tomato and/or pepper on his sandwich.

My family will understand this statement immediately because they had to deal with a kid who would NOT eat lettuce or spinach.  Tomatoes had to be cooked and couldn't have remnants of skin in the sauce.  Peppers?  Are you kidding?  I would eat green beans, peas, corn, potatoes, lima beans (go figure) and onions or tomatoes if they were cooked and ground down fine enough.

Costata Romanesco
Mountain Yellow Sweet

My poor parents.  I'm sure it wasn't much fun dealing with a strong-willed child who won't eat anything.  But, I bring this up to point out that I was -and I STILL AM - a picky eater.  Perhaps I've matured enough to give things another try.  So, that much is different about me.  On the other hand, I still will not eat iceberg lettuce.  The texture is all wrong and don't get me started on how it smells/tastes. In fact, it wasn't until we tried Grandpa Admires lettuce on the farm that I decided lettuce could be ok.  The texture is softer, which encourage me to give it a try.  To my palate, the taste was pleasant and I didn't have a texture that I disliked.  We have a winner!

Grandpa Admires
Since that time, I have discovered I can eat and will often enjoy many other kinds of lettuce.  Some I like much more than others, of course.  For example, I know people love Crispmint (a romaine), but it has a texture I don't enjoy.  On the other hand, I really like Australian Yellow Leaf and Pablo.  I'll get along with lettuces like Red Salad Bowl, Rouge d'Hiver, Bronze Arrowhead and maybe Gold Rush.  Who knew?

But, I now feel a bit like a fraud if we are eating somewhere and they offer me a sandwich or a salad comprised of these sad excuses for lettuce.  What?  The vegetable farmer will not eat his veg?  Well, I will if you get me some REAL veg.

Tammy will agree that I have worked hard to expand the list of foods that I will eat.  It started with a concession that I would try cauliflower and broccoli - as long as there was cheese.  I like cheese.  Really I do. (Loony Tunes fans, I hope you got the reference.)

Snow Crown
The problem with the broccoli, especially, was the uh... "after effects."  Imagine having dinner, then going to an evening volleyball game match.  There are times when you might refrain from jumping due to the fear that you might erm... "let one loose" so to speak.  As we started growing vegetables, we found that we could grow varieties of broccoli that didn't have this effect on me.  And, over time, we found varieties where the taste they had was enough to get me to agree to eat them without the cheese - and for that matter - without cooking. 

But, there are still battles to be had.
St Valery's
I just can't swallow carrots.  Sorry carrot lovers.  I can't do it.  But, Tammy likes them, so she does the taste testing on those.  I'll grow them for everyone else, but we've yet to find one that will go down without protest.

And, there are other vegetables that I typically don't choose to eat, but will eat if I really must.  While others will snack on cucumbers, I tend to pass.  Though, I'll eat a Boothby's Blonde cucumber in the right situation.  I am not usually going to eat many tomatoes or peppers raw without some other item accompanying them, but I am not unwilling to taste them in the field to see where they are at as far as ripeness is concerned. And, if it is a chunk of a Black Krim, German Pink or Dr Wyche's Yellow, I'll probably eat it regardless of the situation.

Tolli Sweet
Put the peppers on some nachos or on a sandwich or cook them into a sauce and I am happy.  A few slices on a kabob, perhaps. But, I tend to stay away from the bell peppers unless they are cooked.  Give me a nice Tolli Sweet or Golden Treasure.

As far as the tomato goes, it was the German Pink that did it.  These tomatoes looked so beautiful on the plant that I actually felt a pang of jealousy that I couldn't/wouldn't eat one.  Many of the tomatoes I'd tried in the past that were not cooked were often slices of "January" tomatoes.  I think you all know what I mean here.  That sort of experience does not encourage a person to try others any time soon.  Any other tomato was painted with a "broad brush" and were guilty of bad taste by association.

German Pink
But, I had to try this tomato.  I asked Tammy for a small chunk when she sliced one up.  I tried it.  I asked for a couple of slices on my sandwich.

Tammy fainted.

Well, ok, she didn't.  But, she did ask where her husband had gone.

You all should ask her about the day I popped a hot pepper in my mouth and told her they weren't hot.

Burgess Buttercup

So, sometimes it is a matter of the freshness of the produce.  Sometimes, it is the variety that finds the texture or the taste that a person needs before they will be happy to eat a particular veg.  Other times, it is the way it is prepared that makes all the difference.

Fresh spinach with a little bit of dressing?  I'll eat a whole lot of that!  The boiled down stuff that doesn't really look like spinach anymore?  No thank you.  Does that mean you can't like it that way?  Of course not.  But, the point is that you might want to try some different ways of preparing things before you completely condemn them.

Zucchini was on the suspicious list until we got into preparing them on the grill with some sweet onions.  Beets were scary until we grew Chioggia and roasted them in the oven.  A fritata is an excellent way to introduce any number of vegetables into a diet, as is the stir fry.  And, once you get yourself to try some of these things and find a success or two, you'll be more willing to explore.

Joi Choi
But, the key has always been that it is still okay if you don't like it as long as you give it another try with another variety or prepared in another way.

I actually like eggplant. And chinese cabbage.

Who knew?

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