Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Bluzdude Rules of Vegetables

While I’m out here in Ohio eating enough grilled meat to choke a horse, I’m reminded of one of my earliest posts, in which I discuss, quite rationally, my likes and (mostly) dislikes regarding vegetables.  Just in case you think I’m arbitrary in that matter…

I read last week that not only do fruits and vegetables not taste as good as they did in your grandparent’s day, produce today is 5-40% lower in minerals than those grown 50 years ago.

I don’t have anything against fruit. They make candy, cereal, and Pop Tarts in fruit flavors, so it must be pretty good. Even the Vitamin C tablets taste good, kind of like a fortified Sweet Tart.

Vegetables, on the other hand… well… have you ever heard of Frosted Spinach Pop Tarts? How about Tropical Broccoli Lifesavers? There’s a reason for that.

Vegetables are evil and I’ve never trusted them. Now I find out they’re losing whatever scant upside they had to begin with? The only reason Moms have now to force-feed the peas to her horrified offspring is just to see the look on their faces.

It seems as good a time as any to revisit some of my “produce” from the past called: “The Rules of Vegetables”. I know that this blog is too new to be starting with reruns, but my plan all along was to bring over some of the favorites from the old site.  (Yes, this is a rerun of a rerun.  So sue me...)

People have always called me a fussy eater, especially when it comes to vegetables. I never thought so, but when confronted with the evidence, I had to scramble for logical reasons why I like what I like. Thus was born the Rules of Vegetables. For the longest time, it’s just been something I’ve explained to people, as a kind of performance art, but recently a friend asked me to forward it to one of his friends, and I realized that I had nothing to forward. I rectified the situation and now I proudly present, “My Rules of Vegetables.”

My Rules of Vegetables
1. The more syllables there are in the name, the worse they are.  The good veggies have 1 syllable… Peas, beans, corn.
  · Veggies with 2 syllables are good raw, but not cooked… carrots, peppers, spinach. (even Popeye didn’t cook his spinach.)
  · After that, the more syllables you add, the worse they become… asparagus, cauliflower. Any vegetable that gets compared to a boxer’s ear can’t be good for you.

2. There are several conditions that act as “multipliers” of badness. The more of these conditions that are present, the worse the taste of the vegetable.
  · Veggies that end in a vowel… broccoli, zucchini, origami. There must be something especially potent about a double “C”, which makes broccoli into my personal kryptonite.
  · Double letters… Brussels sprouts, eggplant. Regarding eggplant, I could also add that purple vegetables are also bad, but I don’t want to sound petty, or biased against “vegetables of color.”
  · Any veggie with a “Q” in it. Or as I call it, “The Squash Rule”. This rule also encompasses any little used letters, like “Z” or “X”. I don’t know if there are any vegetables with “X” in it, but if there are, I’m sure I won’t like it.

My Rules of Meat
The rules of meat are much simpler, and hark back to a simpler time when the menfolk found themselves hungry, they left the cave and went out a’huntin’.

1. Meat is Good.
2. Organs are Bad.

I’m quite certain that when the pack went out and brought down a mastodon or something, that the roasted the meat right there on the spot. This routine became the earliest know evidence of “grilling out”. (And the one thing that always helped get the fire started was the mastodon’s bushy tail, hence the enduring term, “tailgating”.)

Everyone participated in the hunt, except the women and, of course, the French. So when they realized that they ate all the meat out there in the field, they looked for something they could bring back home to the missus. Now, they knew that bringing home nothing but the oddly shaped and weirdly colored scraps would get them a real ration of grief, so they figured they’d better come up with a plan.

So these wretched leftovers were presented, with great reverence and fanfare, as “the best parts, the parts where all the nutrition is!” (This is also the birth of “Marketing”, as we know it) This pre-historic bait and switch took hold right down to our DNA, and the remnants remain to be seen today. Next time you’re at “Henri’s Bistro”, just take a look at who’s ordering the pancreas, and who’s serving it. And you can just smile knowingly, as you order the pork chops. With corn.

27 comments:

  1. We just returned from the southeast coast where for many days we ate nothing but sea food! Oh, and salad! I have to have my salad!

    You probably know that the early hunters of deer always ate the liver first, warm, and straight out of the freshly killed deer! I happen to love liver, and can marinate and grill it so it tastes like the best steak you ever had. The secret to cooking liver on the grill is to have the grill VERY hot so when you throw that slippery liver on, it doesn't slide through and onto the coals. You should try this, but something tells me you won't.

    As for veggies, I love 'um all! I even love parsnips! Oh, and okra! One cannot make a good Creole dish without okra!

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  2. Judie,
    I've tried liver... heck, I've wanted to like liver... mom would be cooking it up and mmmmmm... It would smell great... looked all lean and meaty... but then I'd try it again and it still tasted like ass. Couldn't like it...

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  3. I don't know, Bluz. I love veggies and I like skinny steaks. Those huge steaks you are holding look like killers to me! My bet is that steaks that size are only for the testosterone-filled males of our society. Probably goes back to the Cave Man days and being a Hunter! :)

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  4. Cher,
    That's the Guy Principle #1... If a little bit is good, a lot is better. That goes double for steaks!

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  5. Haven't eaten red meat in 50 years, don't even cook it for others anymore. Malaclusion not morals. I can't chew it. So I can't take the high ground but do find carcasses repugnant.
    But then I eat my weight in fish. Have you ever seen a Grouper!

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  6. My daughter would love these rules. She is a meatlover through and through and doesn't believe veges have any place at the dinner table. She loves fruit though.

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  7. What about potatoes? PO-TA-TO 3 syllables. Or do you just lovingly call them fries? ;)

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  8. Oh man, I love veggies. For shame! But your rules absolutely cracked me up. And I agree on organs. Those are only things British people like.

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  9. Veggies, done right, can make the meal. You don't know what you're missing, my friend. Not that I don't love me a big slab of grilled meat. I'm all for that, too.

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  10. Mary Ann,
    "Me"is what happens when a vegetarian raises kids.

    Jackie,
    I'm perfectly fine with veggies at the dinner table... as long as they're peas, beans or corn.

    Nikki,
    I didn't think potatoes were vegetables... which makes sense because I like them in all forms.

    Jessica,
    Feel free to love veggies... I care not what others eat... only what I can or can't. Although broccoli at the table is still troublesome to me... the smell alone can trigger the 'hurl' reflex.

    DG,
    I know what I'm missing. These rules are forged from hard-won experience.

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  11. Wow. You've really given this a lot of thought. I guess there's no danger of us ever running off together because I eat a huge plate of steamed broccoli every night. I know. I disgust you now, right?

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  12. Hey Bluz! It's the guy formally known as Virgil! Come check out my new blog, http://blueswayedshow.blogspot.com/! Let me know what you think! :)

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  13. Jayne,
    We'd be OK just as long as there was a little partition running between us at the dining room table. And kitchen. With maybe a bubble over top.

    Justin,
    I'll check it out in the morning.

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  14. I like that one of the main points of my most recent negative restaurant review was that they didn't serve me enough offal. There were TWO lettuce courses, though, so I'll agree with you there.

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  15. OK, might be your funniest stuff ever! But I'm afraid you'll never want to come to dinner at my house. In fact, this week's menu includes eggplant parmesan and a chicken broccoli casserole. Please don't hurl on the keyboard...

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  16. As much as I love liver, I rarely eat it because organ meats are FULL of the bad cholesterol. Rod and I used to be able to eat a steak each, but for many years now, we split one that is about half the size on the ones on your plate. Salad is vcry filling!!

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  17. That's VERY filling!! Sorry for the type.

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  18. Dude, the line about the French killed me. And I agree, organs are disgusting. Especially liver and kidneys...aka the filters of the body. Blech.

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  19. Mundane,
    I don’t even know what ‘offal’ is, but I couldn’t order it based on the name alone (apart from the double letters!)

    Sherry,
    See, that’s why I do reruns… it’s a public service for those that were late to the party!

    Oh, and yeah, “Bleah…” Why ruin a perfectly good chicken like that?

    Judie,
    Thanks! Now I have a really GOOD reason for not eating liver. Bad cholesterol! Bad!

    Beer,
    Yes! Bad cholesterol and filters! Organs bad!

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  20. 1. You haven't had vegetables prepared correctly. Trust me on this. I'll tell you my Dan spinach story someday.

    2. Popeye ate CANNED spinach, which is teh worst kind of spinach there is. Canned vegetables are wrong, wrong, wrong.

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  21. First of all, liver? We are really going to eat that thing that filters all the bad stuff out of blood? I'm just sayin'...

    Second, I'm far from a vegetarian. (I'd starve!) But I'm a big believer in Farmer's Markets. That way, you buy local and in season. The closer to being picked a vegetable is, the more vitamins and minerals it will retain.

    There's something wrong with supermarkets having all fruits and vegetables in season all the time. I remember when strawberries were only available in the summer and grapefruit in the winter. (ominously shaking my cane!)

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  22. Red Pen Mama,
    Spinach is OK raw… I can deal with a bit of that in salads but not too much…

    But 2 of my other 3 faves HAVE to be canned. Obviously, corn on the cob is wonderful. Someday I’ll have to do a picture-filled instruction post on how to make our family’s grilled corn on the cob. (If only I had a grill... But a microwave will do if you substitute wax paper for foil.)

    I can tolerate fresh green beans but like canned better. But peas… they must be canned… that’s the only way they’re any good. I used to hate them until the day (very late in my childhood, I might add), that Mom served canned peas at dinner. I thought they were the best ever. The ones that aren’t canned are like bitter, bouncy little marbles. Bleah! Like the Jolly Green Giant’s boogers.

    But I will give props to snow peas in Chinese dishes. But they have to be crisp!

    Carpetbagger,
    Let it be known that I take no issue with fruit. And Farmer’s Markets are fine for fruit. But no matter if it comes from Kroger’s or a Farmer’s Market, broccoli still tastes like ass.

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  23. Okay, broccoli is off the table (pun intended). Have you ever had roasted vegetables? Beets roasted are heavenly. Roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes. Even if you do cauliflower, peppers, and... carrots. So, so good.

    I can't believe you like CANNED peas, but won't eat broccoli. That's just wrong. And anything from a Farmers Market is excellent -- better tasting fruits and vegetables than any where else.

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  24. Red Pen Mama,
    I like the carrots and peppers raw, just fine. But cooked… bleah. My mom used to cook carrots for us and I couldn’t stand them. Stuffed peppers were a different story… loved the filling, hated the pepper.

    I love potatoes in most forms; sweet potatoes not so much.

    Broccoli vs canned peas? Are you kidding? Broccoli has a strong, distinctive odor and taste. The peas are actually kind of bland. No comparison at all.

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  25. As you know, I will eat almost anything that is culturally considered food, and I love all vegetables.

    But I'm afraid of biscuit cans and elevators, so we all have our imperfections.

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  26. Mrs. Bachelor Girl,
    That’s my second favorite part about the biscuits… opening the can. You can probably imagine what my First favorite part is…

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  27. I love Rutabaga and the sound of it makes me want to dance when I cook it!

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