My parents were teenagers in the 60s and 70s and parents of young children in the 70s and 80s when microwaved, processed, convenient food was all the rage. I’m not even sure the word “fresh” was in the dictionary back then. So, besides candy, I grew up on a lot of Totino’s, Stouffer’s, Hot Pockets, Hungry Man, Gorton’s…anything you can find in the frozen dinner aisle. Except for iceberg lettuce and the corn on the cob that we bought from the farmers on our street in the summer, vegetables in our house almost exclusive came from cans. Asparagus in my world was those soggy, foul smelling, stringy green lumps that slid out of a Del Monte can. There is absolutely nothing to like about that.
Then I studied in Germany and lived with a host family who, apparently like all Germans, was crazy for white asparagus. We ate it for dinner the first night and many nights thereafter. Since I’m always of the “when in Rome” philosophy when travelling, I wasn’t going to refuse…and it turns out that I wouldn’t have wanted to. It was delicious. True there was some kind of sauce on it, so that helped (cheese on broccoli, anyone?), but the spargel itself was also really tasty.
And so began the evolution of my taste buds into adulthood. Fresh vegetables are quite delicious. I know, shock, right? I was also getting older and realized that to was probably time to stop buying Flintstone vitamins and just eat properly, which meant adding vegetables to my diet. And I was a horrible cook, but vegetables are a lot easier to prepare well than meat is. Just a bit of chopping, add some oil and seasoning, and roast or eat them fresh. So simple. I did lots of experimenting with cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, tomatoes, and I even branched out into bok choy and other vegetables I had never heard of but received in bulk when I joined a CSA.
Asparagus remains one of my favorites. When you put some crisp spears on the grill with a little butter, salt, and pepper, you’ve got a much better snack than any potato chips. I will say though, if you aren’t already aware of asparagus’s magical olfactory powers, you might want to read up on that and be careful where you serve it. United Airlines once thought it would be a good idea to give everyone asparagus for the in-flight meal and let’s just say that if you thought airline lavatory funk was bad enough already, well, you would have developed incredible bladder strength for the remainder of that flight, just as I did.
Curious about what everyone else is writing for the A to Z Blog Challenge? Me too! I’m featuring three blogs from my fellow contributors each day. Here are today’s entertaining, lyrical, beautiful, unique, informative, or just plain random discoveries: