I’ve enjoyed eating fresh vegetables as long as I can remember. Regardless of size or color, they’re welcome on my plate with one big exception, okra. I don’t care how it’s prepared or disguised, the stuff makes me choke. Maybe it contains a chemical my body rejects or perhaps it’s the slime. Okra is a no-go for me.
Jorge once brought a jar of salsa, he didn’t realize that I hate okra, so he didn’t inform me it was in the dip. My tongue figured it out right away. Jorge said his family called okra “lady fingers”. I replied that I’m not a cannibal so that name didn’t make okra seem very appetizing. That afternoon, I only ate the chips.
Several years ago, one of my friends decided to cook a “soul food” dinner and invited several people, including me, to enjoy it. The house was filled with the wonderful aroma of home-cooked vittles. Unfortunately, about half of the dishes contained some form of okra. I made an honest effort to be polite and at least try some of the dishes. I just couldn’t get the stuff to go down. The cornbread looked like a good filler, but I soon discovered even that contained whole okra. Luckily the meal was served buffet style. I snuck into the kitchen and scooped the food into the trashcan.
On the other hand, the rest of the fresh vegetable family works for me. On my birthday, a few years ago, Waan, one of my step-mom’s cousins, decided to cook a special treat for me. One of her specialties is authentic Thai fried rice. The one -plate meal is prepared like standard stir-fry. Waan doesn’t have a formal recipe for the dish. She just “throws together” the ingredients and spices. Her fried rice is just heavenly.
I like fresh veggies so much that I tried growing them in a garden a few times. Not only don’t I have a green thumb, my yard is a poor place to grow vegetables. The one time I had a somewhat respectable crop, most of it was purloined by the creatures that come up from the river at night. What they didn’t want, human passersby helped themselves to my meager leftovers. I think I had enough green beans for a couple of meals and a few handfuls of lettuce the rabbits had rejected.
Thank goodness for the supermarket. My local store is within easy walking distance of home. If I want to work for my dinner, I just take a hike and peruse the produce coolers. There’s something different on sale each week, so mealtime variety is almost automatic. The best time of year is when farmers come to town for the farmers’ market or to set up roadside stands. The locally grown fresh produce is super tasty and fully nutritious.
All of this writing about fresh veggies is making me hungry. I need to shop for the fixings of a quick and tasty stir-fry to celebrate “World Fresh Veggies Day”.
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes this pithy statement by Jane Elliot: “We don’t need a melting pot in this country, folks. We need a salad bowl. In a salad bowl, you put in the different things. You want the vegetables – the lettuce, the cucumbers, the onions, the green peppers – to maintain their identity. You appreciate differences.”