Tag Archiv: vegetables

Of Information, Elephants, and Taking Back the Night

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Nutrition is high on my list of burdens. The quality of what goes in my children’s mouths sits like a pregnant elephant on my back. We grow our own grass fed, antibiotic free meat. We have our own eggs and freeze a fair bit of vegetables for winter. We eat whole wheat everything. We avoid sugar. We don’t keep junk food in the house. When we need to binge, we’re at least slowed down by the need to make it and bake it.

The problem is the information overload combined with the lack of six lifetimes required to verify the “facts.”  Whatever you do, it’s never good enough. Brown rice and lentils are good for now, but after that it gets a little dicey.

Meat? Very bad. Unless it’s important. Organ meat is exceptionally good. Unless you should limit intake. Potatoes are either loaded with Vitamin C and a host of other good things, or they’re a starch so don’t have too much. Milk is good. So is cheese. Unless all the dairy products are so hormone/additive compromised that they’re actually terrible.

Green vegetables are great. Except Broccoli which the children love but which gets a lot of spraying. (This much you can verify by growing your own bug infested, skinny, odd shaped, poison free broccoli. It tastes good, but the kids don’t like this kind.) Salad is great except lettuce and cucumbers don’t do much beyond taste good and accustom people to the color green. Tomatoes are great except when they come from California and Mexico which is 90% of the year. Then they tinkle all their vitamins out on the road while simultaneously destroying the planet by coaxing the trucks to keep driving. Beans (also on the kid list of edible) are ok . . . but really not a power packed veggie the way some are. Corn, peas and sweet potatoes are “just a starch.”

Frozen beet greens, Swiss chard, spinach, and beets are excellent. I refer to them as tasters. You start out getting the kids to put a square centimeter in their mouths for dinner. Depending on the age, we’re up between one and five bites now.

Fruit is good but not as good as vegetables. Apples would be good if they weren’t so notoriously sprayed. Oranges and grapes are ok but they travel too far. Whole wheat pasta is good, unless all pasta is evil. Then there’s the wheat debate. Whether you embrace your whole grains or cast them to the outer darkness, there’s no shortage of “facts,” to support you.

I was going to give up cooking and eating. Instead I’ve decided to give up reading about nutrition for a while and am committed to forgetting at least half of what I know. For a season, the elephant has been re-homed from my back to the couch. Consequently, I have fed the family all manner of potentially dangerous things (broccoli three times!) and la ti dah.

Forgiveness Project and the Vegetable Man

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If were I to stay at home (my preferred location 98.5% of the time) I would not have to pass the vegetable man’s house. Boy one’s bus stop is a few miles away. I get in the car to pick him up because otherwise he would be late for dinner. This forces me to drive by the vegetable man’s house and therefore to think of him. Driving by a few weeks ago, a terrible thought came. Perhaps I should forgive the vegetable man.

I do not want to forgive the vegetable man. The thought of him rankles me. Seeing his gardens are bad enough, the few times I saw him out working, disgust darts were sucked out of my eyes and shot out through the windshield towards him. The vegetable man didn’t have the decency to hurt me, he hurt my son. In case it is not obvious, I am justified.

I spent a lot of the summer hoping for a new kind of blight to strike certain fields of vegetables. For the fall I hoped that pumpkin sales were plummeting. Technically, my family has been informed that we will be in a state of vegetable starvation for a very extended period of time before I would ever deign to buy that man’s produce.

The last day I picked up boy one from his first summer job, he wouldn’t get into the car until he’d picked beans for just a little bit longer so the bucket would be extra full. He carefully bagged up the vegetables I had bought in silence. When we were out of the driveway, he told me in tears that he no longer had a job. Vegetable man had fired him an hour ago with odd comments that didn’t add up, not much warning, and not much dignity.

On forgiving the man, I feel like I am stuck in the Cat and the Hat book. “But could you, would you . . . for the baby in the manger?”

“I could not would not . . . ”

And then it’s all downhill.

Like vegetable man, I have been unmerciful and unkind. I too have failed to see the tenderness of those I dismiss with little or no grace. Sigh.

Dear Vegetable Man,

I forgive you.

May the year ahead see your gardens overflowing.

Truly, may the taste of your beans be the talk of the town.

 

 

 *****Unfortunately, the vegetable man was not the most irritating person to cross my path this year. Hence I am launching a forgiveness project, directed at my objects of indignation as they come to me. If you want to join me, do. If you don’t feel the urge, that’s ok too. I am getting ready for Christmas. Starting with the vegetable man. Because you have to start somewhere. And because there’s no way to get half the places I need to go without passing his house.