My daughter is one of those uber-healthy girls who runs and does yoga and is never without a snack sack of veggies. She eats spinach for breakfast, carrots for lunch, and kale for dinner, claiming all the while to love her mostly vegan diet.
Me? I think a love of vegetables skipped my generation. Or, at least, it skipped me. I get my five a day, usually. (A task made much easier since I started VB6ing, eating mostly vegan before dinner, during workdays.) But I don’t always enjoy eating my vegetables.
With every bite of broccoli I return to the table of my youth when I was a miserable kid sitting alone with a plate of cold peas in front of me. My dad would make frequent visits to the dining room to check on my progress and reprimand me, “You cannot leave the table until you finish your vegetables.” Funny thing is, I don’t remember my dad ever eating his vegetables.
The promise of dessert was no consolation. Who could relish thoughts of a hot fudge sundae when you had to wade your way through a pile of over-cooked green beans sitting in clumps of congealed butter?
At one point I thought of a way to beat the system. During dinner I’d scoop huge bites of slimy carrots and asparagus into my mouth and chew, then pretend I needed to use the bathroom. I’d spit the vegetables into the toilet, flush, and return to dinner. Timing between bathroom visits was crucial, and I actually got away with splurging and purging for a few weeks before I got cocky. It probably helped that so many of us were at the table and my exits went unnoticed until Dad finally figured out my trick.
Once the jig was up, it was back to not-so-quality time alone with a plate of uneaten horrors.
I always liked raw vegetables and fruit and never eschewed a bowl of radishes dipped in salt or a whole tomato sprinkled with sugar. Times haven’t changed a whole lot, and to this day I prefer my veggies on the undercooked side of “done.” Dousing them with a vat of melted cheese also helps.
As zucchini season settled in last month, I decided there must be some new ways to prepare this relatively tasteless green. After hearing my daughter, uber-healthy girl, talk about the joys of veggie “pasta” I decided to give the Veggetti a try. This As Seen On TV kitchen accessory claims to “Turn veggies into healthy spaghetti.” Sounds great, right? Well, as with many As Seen On TV products there is apparently a trick to using this tool and I haven’t quite figured it out yet.
The Veggetti is a double v-shaped tube with two sets of blades within the cylinders. You are supposed to push a vegetable through the blades, twisting gently so that ribbons of zucchini or cucumber or carrots spill out. The first time I used the Veggetti the zucchini I was prepping kept breaking into chunks, and rather than ribbons I collected sad little jagged fangs. Still tasty, mind you, especially because I (barely) cooked the scraps in some leftover tomato sauce with sausage and mushrooms and then covered the whole mess with a layer of shredded Parmigiano. I wrote about the experience at Called to the Table today, and perhaps I’ll revisit the topic once I master the Veggetti.
At least my dad isn’t waiting in the other room ready to inspect my plate. The beauty of adulthood is not having to finish ALL of my vegetables.