Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Love of Veggies

Mom- make sure you read this one! I love vegetables. I love fruit. I love that I have gotten back to a lifestyle where those are the focal points of my diet. In my family, food is a way to show love. For example, my mom makes certain to have a favorite dish for specific people at each holiday. Ryan loves "those potatoes." Jeff loves angel food cake. Martha loves cheesecake. She makes sure to have everyone's favorite beverage on hand- from Corona to Dr. Pepper to Mt. Dew. It's her way of showing people that they matter, that they are thought of when she is planning the meal, and that they are a special part of our family. I think there is an overall idea that people who love with food do so in an unhealthy way. "You're hurting so here's a brownie." In my family, the message was different. I have some great food associations and memories from my childhood that are healthy food related. While I might not have appreciated all of these things as a child, these memories have definitely been engrained into my sensory memories when I eat these foods now. Grapefruit. When I was 4-5 years old, my mom and I lived with my grandparents for a bit. For a period of time, my grandma would sneak me a snack after I went to bed. Usually it was a piece of chocolate- like Whitman's. One night, she went above and beyond and brought in a dish with half a grapefruit on it- complete with cherry on top and sugar sprinkled over it- and 4 pieces of chocolate on the edge of the plate. She came into my room, set it down by my bed, and walked out with a smile. I sat up and wolfed down that chocolate! Then I grabbed the spoon and dug into the grapefruit. It tasted awful! I went to my Grandma's room to complain- and she gently pointed out that I ate the sweet chocolate first so that was ruining the taste. Spaghetti Squash. My mom used to buy a spaghetti sqaush to serve as a complete meal for the 2 of us. She would cook the squash and carefully scrape it out of the skin. Then she would serve it- with spaghetti sauce on top. As a kid- blech! I don't recall what I liked least- the spaghetti sauce on it or the squash itself. Isn't it funny that I would have such a negative memory of spaghetti squash but now it's one of my favorite veggies? I also love that it is so easy to cook (less than 10 minutes in the microwave, scoop out the seeds, scrap out the squash, add some butter, salt, pepper and I've got a meal). Artichokes. From time to time, my mom would buy artichokes and steam them on the stove. I remember how the smell permeated the apartment. I also remember the mayo and lemon juice dip she made for the leaves. I loved it when my mom made artichokes. I still love artichokes and eat them often. This summer, I plan to branch out in my cooking method. I'd love to grill them or pan cook them! Gardening. My grandfather is a master gardener. When we lived at their house, he had a garden that took up most of the backyard. There were a lot of rules about not going in the garden- but I also remember going out and helping my grandpa in that dirt. Even though it took a long time for me to consider having a garden of my own, part of what I love about having a veggie garden now is that it feels like a bit of a family legacy. Spinach. I used to love spinach as a kid. Isn't that weird? I have lots of memories of eating spinach and of the comments about how odd it was that I loved spinach so much. I don't remember exactly how the spinach was prepared in my family. I just remember it being one of my favorite vegetables. How about you? Do you have positive memories about fresh fruits and vegetables when you were growing up? Photobucket


C. Beth said...

The neighborhood I grew up in had been an orange grove before it was turned into a subdivision. A lot of the trees were saved. And some neighbors didn't want to deal with harvesting, and let my mom pick and keep their fruit!

So my best fruit-related memory is FRESH oranges and FRESH orange juice. YUM!! My parents have moved to a different house now, but they planted an orange tree!

Unknown said...

I am trying to think of a memory with a fresh fruit or vegetable. my Daddy planted corn and we loved corn on the cob in the summer. With lots of butter!

My parents did such a great job raising us. I am pretty sure we had a vegetable at every meal. And we loved them!

Garret said...

Junk food is for so many things:

Accomplishments/rewards. Have a brownie sundae, you deserve it!

Depression: Who cares? Have some cookies, this just plain sucks.

mimbles said...

Going up to Bilpin (apple growing area in the mountains to the west of Sydney) in autumn each year and buying big boxes of Bonza apples direct from the orchards. I can get Bonzas in the supermarket now but back then you couldn't. Actually we used to stop at pretty much any roadside farmers fruit and veg stall we saw when we were on holidays.

Having papaya for breakfast every day for a week at the hotel in Tahiti when I was 9 years old. And then never being able to find quite the same divinely delicious fruit back in Australia. Different varieties I suppose.

Pumpkin soup in winter with a swirl of cream added in the bowl. I have a butternut pumpkin sitting in the fridge right now waiting to be transformed into soup.

Jacket potatoes cooked by wrapping in foil and burying in the coals of an open fire when on camping holidays.

Picking lemons from the tree in the back yard and making lemon delicious pudding and lemon butter and eating lemon wedges for the fun of watching my younger siblings cringe.

Roast potatoes, sweet potatoes and pumpkin at Grandma's house and going back to the kitchen to get seconds and triumphantly claiming the last piece of sweet potato (or missing out as the case may be!).

Walking to school instead of taking the bus because the route led through the bush and there were blackberries along the track to be picked and eaten on the way. I was so sad when the blackberries were poisoned in the course of bush regeneration being done in the area but they did need to go, noxious weed and all that.

Oh yep, lots of good fruit and veg memories! :-)

Candy said...

Picking wild blueberries and wild strawberries with my grandma. Fabulous flavor. Are there still wild strawberries? I haven't seen any in years. They're really small and taste heavenly.

Also, our neighbors on both sides of our house had raspberry bushes. Yummy!

Nancy C said...

My mom would freeze grapes which we would eat in the AZ sunshine after getting out of the pool.

That's what childhood tastes like.

Emily said...

I used to steal beets from people in preschool. No one liked them at all, so I'd eat them for the kids who didn't like them. (We're talking a couple servings too haha)

Ted says: "I remember something about goat's eyeballs..." (Oh Ted...:))

Mocha Dad said...

My parents always grew fresh tomatoes in the backyard. They were so sweet and delicious.

Lisa said...

For Garret of Jim and Garret, early on in the FitCity days, we produced a commercial with a great line about rewarding kids with food that has stuck with me to this day: "I was loving my kids to death."

That may sound extreme, but rewarding (or treating) depression with junk food is a kind of slow torture. Instead of food, we reward with hugs, activity, games, experiences now in my house as much as possible.

Garret said...

Lisa, I never really thought about that reinforcement for kids. Going out for icecream to celebrate and such.