Eat your veggies!

by Honolulu Mother

Here’s a Vox article on some of the reasons why Americans don’t eat enough vegetables, and some ideas for fixing that:

4 fixes for the astonishing lack of vegetables in the American diet

What do you think of those ideas? And do you have any favorite recipes or techniques for getting veggies on the table?

I’m partial to oven-roasting, especially cauliflower. And warm weather months are a good time for panzanella! I make a fairly simple one, and only when I have good tomatoes available. Ripe juicy tomatoes, big chunks of bread that were toasted in the oven at low heat, olive oil, salt, pepper, torn basil leaves, and mozzarella pearls, all tossed together — add cucumber or corn if you have some fresh — and there’s dinner! (Possibly with some questions from the kids like “Is this dinner?” and “Are we having any meat?”)

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227 thoughts on “Eat your veggies!

  1. What are the cuisines that are traditionally vegetable laden? I know that some Indian diets contain a wide variety (and perhaps high volume) of vegetables. However, isn’t that the exception? Aren’t most people eating protein and carb for most meals, with a bit of vegetable or fruit for flavor and color? I don’t thinkAmerica has an astonishing lack of vegetables in the diet. We would likely all benefit from eating more, but I think it. Is historically and culturally anomalous to eat a large volume of vegetables daily.

  2. In what universe do 4 apples cost $9? Sounds like cherry picking to me – the most expensive variety and large apples. Even at Whole Foods in the off season for apples, there is always at least one of apple on sale the $2-3/pound range, and usually there are a couple. At Whole Foods! Even if you buy a single apple at a convenience store, it is probably $1/apple.

    For eating veggies – we do a lot of stir fries, frittatas, side salads, vegetable pasta dishes, etc. I find it is pretty easy to eat lots of veggies in the summer & fall. It’s winter and early spring when most things at the store are pretty blah that we end up eating mostly bagged salad greens and frozen peas.

  3. I have finally mastered spaghetti squash, and it’s a true favorite around here. I struggled with it because it’s so damn hard to cut open that every time I made it I would swear never again. But now I put the whole thing in a 400 oven for 30 minutes (note – this part could be done with your delay start function – just stick it in the oven, and set your delay start so that the 30 minutes is done when you walk through the door). Pull it out, cut in half (so easy to cut now!), scoop out seeds. Sprinkle with olive oil, and liberally with salt/pepper. Put cut side down on roasting pan. Back in oven for another 45 minutes. Don’t undercook! If you do, it won’t be the right texture. Then scoop out inside – it will be just like the texture of angel hair pasta, and top with marinara sauce, meatballs, and Parmesan cheese. SO GOOD. My whole family inhales this.

    I do realize I’m a few years late to the spaghetti squash party. I’ve been trying, but it took me this long to really perfect it.

  4. For the summer, we’ve been doing a lot of watermelon gazpacho and watermelon salad (watermelon, tomatoes, chopped mint, feta, little bit of balsamic).

    I’m eating a lot of cabbage and carrots right now for lunch in the leftover Popeye’s cole slaw and fried chicken.

  5. Is historically and culturally anomalous to eat a large volume of vegetables daily.

    I think that’s very climate specific. India, Italy, Greece, Vietnam, Thailand, etc. would tend to involve a lot of veggies. The Inuit, Northern Europeans, etc. not so much.

  6. I think they are missing the biggest issue. Cooking veggies in an appetizing manner, as judged by both children and adults, is much harder than cooking meat, highly refined grains and other highly processed foods.

  7. In Italy (and Thailand), I see a lot of vegetables being used as a condiment, but the bulk of the calories coming from processed grains. Pad Thai is typically not have a high volume of vegetables, nor does a typical pizza (though each might contain fragments of half a dozen vegetables). Poorer people in those countries are eating large volumes of rice/bread/pasta with a sprinkling of fat and meat.

    I think the healthiest way to eat probably consists of a high volume (and large variety) of vegetables. I just don’t think there are good models of that.

  8. I rely a lot on frozen vegetables. Already pre-cut and ready to go. Bonus = no pressure to cook them immediately, as they won’t go bad quickly.

    Our summer go-to dish is a black bean salad with black beans, corn, cucumber, tomatoes, salsa, spices/olive oil/vinegar, and cilantro. My family will inhale this, and it’s very high in fiber and low in fat. Eaten with Fritos or tortilla chips, which kind of negate any nutritional value.

  9. I agree with Rhett. The Indian diets are full of vegetables and pulses. The cooking is very flavorful so meat is not missed as much. Those who eat meat, eat small quantities as compared to vegetables. Even so, as in my family not everyone likes every vegetable, so there is a struggle about what to cook to please everyone and still cook in a healthy fashion. I posted before and since this is a post about food – I loved this documentary series.
    http://usa.newonnetflix.info/info/80102162/s

  10. My DD’s Girl Scout troop (5th graders then) a few years back saw this as a problem…kids didn’t eat veggies because they weren’t prepared in a way that looked or tasted good. A lot of veggies were thrown away at school because kids wouldn’t even try them. So, their project was to create a small cook book (pamphlet really) of veggie recipes and handed them out to families at the end of the school year. They found recipes they thought they’d like, made them, tasted them, then picked the set for the cookbook. They sent those out to parents of kids they knew for feed back. They got the whole range of responses from “cream of mushroom soup from a can is awful, you should make the cream sauce from scratch and here’s how” to “cream sauce from scratch, I don’t have time for that you should use a can of soup”. So, they modified to give more options – such as use a can of soup or you can make from scratch this way. In the process, the girls decided fresh kale chips were pretty good, a cauliflower soup was OK in taste, but looked too much like oatmeal and cast it aside, went with a spicy green bean dish that they didn’t know what the spices were to begin with.

  11. Isn’t it generally true that, historically, the societies and cultures that ate a larger proportion of plant-based foods did so because they couldn’t afford meat?

    I think of my uncle, the one who prepares for a big party by sleeping on the couch for several nights and waking every three hours to tend the smoker, who once told me “I could have retired a while back, but if I want to eat meat, I have to keep working.”

  12. Houston I make a very similar dish with lime juice added, and serve that a lot in the summer, and every football game day, because it was clear last year that was the reason my team was winning.

  13. I think one of the biggest reasons that Americans don’t eat veggies is that too many people regard veggies as some kind of purgatory, a way to cleanse your sins. In that view, veggies must only be eaten steamed and absolutely plain, or if you must, with a little lemon. No wonder everyone hates veggies. The worst offenders are low to mid price chain restaurants, where the veggie sides are always the same brocolli red pepper carrot medley, clearly shaken out of a food service frozen bag, and steamed so the medley ends up with that odd too crunchy too soft texture that is the hallmark of steamed frozen veggies.

    I think things are getting better. People now realize that butter enhances all veggies, that brussels sprouts are wonderful with bacon, that Parmesan cheese and hot sauce are great enhancements to greens, and that Julia Child was right when she said she liked her veggies not under cooked nor over cooked, but just right.

  14. I agree with Ada. Most Asian countries have a very high-carb diet. Carbs are cheap. Veggies are affordable, but not in large quantities. Meat is expensive and eaten rarely. In DH’s family, when he was a child, meat was reserved for Sunday dinner. It was always a curry served with a lot of rice. Everyone got a few bite sized chunks of meat. That was it for the week. Their family is considered middle class.

  15. Ada, one of my revelations when I visited Greece is how vegetable oriented their traditional cuisine is. The same is true of real southern Italian food (which I vastly prefer to northern Italian food).

  16. Rhett is right about cooking them in an appetizing way. Adults tend to like or at least tolerate veggies in combinations where younger children often don’t want them mixed. My DDs will eat a pretty wide range of veggies. If they are in a soup, stew, casserole, you can mix them any which way, but serve them as a side of veggies – no mixing!

    We just finished our overabundance of tomatoes from the garden, but bugs got the squash and the two pepper plants never did thrive. I prefer fresh or frozen over canned veggies. I still like mine to have a bit of crunch, but others in my family think they should be very soft. We steam veggies often, then season lightly.

  17. I am currently trying to push Brussel
    Sprouts. I had never eaten them in childhood so they are newer to me. Quite like them and sautéed them first with salt, pepper, a little cumin and cooked them on the stove. DD was OK with them, DS no. DS makes up his vegetable deficit by eating tons of fruit.

  18. I spent a summer in Naples many years ago, and what I noticed was that a) they don’t eat a lot of meat b) they do eat a lot of seafood and eggs and c) the American idea of a mound of pasta just wasn’t done there. A typical meal might be green beans topped by a fried egg and olive oil, with bread. Or grilled sardines, followed by a small amount of pasta, and a salad.

  19. Julia Child was right when she said she liked her veggies not under cooked nor over cooked, but just right.

    That’s certainly true but also a lot harder to do than toss some frozen fries and chicken nuggets on a baking sheet. For all their faults, frozen nuggets and fries can put up with a lot of culinary abuse before being rendered inedible.

  20. “People now realize that butter enhances all veggies, that brussels sprouts are wonderful with bacon”

    At my weekly BBQ place, they have the best green beans you’ve ever tasted. Yes, with bacon, but it’s not overdone and greasy. I could go there just for the green beans.

    The one trend I’ve come to despise is the half-cooked vegetables (usually oversized greens beans) that you get at a lot of places that are trying to be fancy.

  21. Milo,

    I’d rather they err on the side of under-cooked than run the risk of overcooked.

  22. No, it isn’t hard. In fact, I consider cooking something like brocolli to be similar to doing tater tots in the oven. The method is simple – you boil a large pot of water, and then you take your florets (and yes, I cut mine up, but you can get those bags of precut fresh broc) and dump them into the water and bring back to a boil as fast as you can. Boil hard for just a few minutes, maybe 3 to 5, uncovered (to preserve the color), and then immediately drain. You can do the same with lots of vegetables
    https://sites.google.com/site/chowbellaprintablerecipes/julia-child-s-green-beans

  23. I had badly undercooked Brussels sprouts at a high end restaurant this weekend, and they were inedible. It wasn’t possible to chew most of them. I ended up licking off the bacon. I was pissed because I paid extra for that dish.

  24. “I’d rather they err on the side of under-cooked than run the risk of overcooked.”

    Nope. Absolutely not. No way, no how. Cook them, for God’s sake. We’re not animals.

    They have no flavor when they’re undercooked.

  25. A great way to do sugar snap peas : do the same pot of boiling water method, except only keep them in for 1 minute. Drain, and run really cold water all over to stop the cooking. Let the snap peas dry. Then, heat up some butter or olive oil, brown some shalllots and then dump in the snap peas. Saute until they have browned a little but still have some crisp.

  26. With our CSA box just starting back up (late growing season here) we are drowning in vegetables. We basically add vegetables to every dish, chop for snacking, or freeze (if possible). Once we hit October we go back to the standard steam-in-bag broccoli.

  27. The method is simple – you boil a large pot of water, and then you take your florets (and yes, I cut mine up, but you can get those bags of precut fresh broc) and dump them into the water and bring back to a boil as fast as you can. Boil hard for just a few minutes, maybe 3 to 5, uncovered (to preserve the color), and then immediately drain.

    That’s way harder than tater tots.

  28. Cook them, for God’s sake. We’re not animals.

    Oh, God no. Overcooked veggies give me a hint of the dry heaves. Just thinking about it makes me gag.

  29. The one veggie cookery method that I cannot master, and that is perfect, is the way the Chinese cook vegetables. And no, they don’t do those overly crunchy, jumble o’ veggies stir fries that Americans love. Instead, they do cooked greens that are simply perfection. Like this
    http://www.yunphoto.net/jp/photobase/yp10429.html

  30. Dumping a bag of precut florets into boiling water is way harder than spreading a bag of tots on a baking sheet and shoving them into a preheated oven???? It seems pretty much the same to me. You have to remember to boil the water or to preheat the oven. You have to shake the bag contents into either the boling water or onto the cookie sheet. You have to remove the cooked items and serve

  31. Mooshi: Do you have a recipe for the Chinese greens that you posted? They look delish! DH bought a package of frozen Chinese greens at the store and I’m wondering what to do with them.

  32. My kids will do green smoothies which I try to make a few times per week with breakfast. I eat salads a few times per week (when not on vacation as I am sadly deficient in veggies right now) usually with nuts, cheese, avocado and some sort of protein and I like a lot of veggies roasted which is beyond easy. I stopped our CSA because it was all greens and while I enjoy them, my kids don’t, and so I’d make them for dinner knowing that they just wouldn’t be touched. I’ve made corn/tomato/basil salad a few times on vacation and it’s so delicious.

    Lark – I got into the spaghetti squash with meatballs and marinara when I did the whole 30 – so yummy!

  33. Houston, I don’t think you can do that with frozen greens because of texture. I would put those into noodle soup instead.

    I have lots of recipes, but mine never come out right. I think you have to have a massively hot burner to get it right.

  34. We eat spaghetti squash a lot, but I would never treat it like pasta because it doesn’t taste like pasta. We bake it and just put butter on it – that is all it needs

  35. The linked article seemed keen on gardening as a good method to increase vegetable intake. That certainly helps in my family, but I’m not sure how effective it would be for lower income individuals living in an apartment or small lot in the city. We have a large garden area that takes an equally large amount of time/effort to maintain. Also, at least in my area, the growing season is pretty short, so at very best, you’re looking at 5 months of produce – and that’s only if you’re really “working it” on the cold weather crops. I’m trying to envision a 6×6 community garden plot in town and an not envisioning enough produce coming out of it to significantly up someone’s overall, annual vegetable consumption. Plus, a cousin of mine who lives in LA has a garden plot a couple of years ago and posted about it on facebook. He had a surprising amount of pest problems, and theft of his produce/gardening tools was an issue.

  36. I prefer to sauté ginger, garlic, black pepper in a little oil and then steam the vegetables. Ginger and garlic as base flavor is great.

  37. My love of vegetables has come late in life. I feel great when I eat a lot of veggies and some meat. This morning I made a quick veggie pasta because I didn’t feel like buying lunch. Boiled water in my electric kettle- some of that went on top of cut broccoli to sit in a measuring cup and the rest went in a small pan and kept the water boiling for noodles. Put noodles In while I hopped in shower. 8 minutes later, Reserved pasta water and drained the rest over frozen peas. Threw peas and pasta back in the pot with now cooked broccoli with 2 scoops prepared pesto and some marinara from a jar, added baby spinach and gave it a stir with heat off. Resumed my morning hair and make up and on my way out the door, threw into a Tupperware for my lunch. (Ok I added crushed red pepper and grated Parmesan but that was me getting fancy). Quick and nutritious. Breakfast was the other half of a green smoothie that I froze this weekend.

  38. Rhett, I’m surprised Ghana is so low on that list. DS’s father cooked veggies for me frequently when I was pregnant. Then again, it was the same dish every time. Most Sub-Saharan African and South American countries are missing from that list.

    This discussion is proving Anon Girl Scout Mom’s point–what people like or consider easy varies widely. I think slimey, over cooked veggies are gross, and I like steamed veggies because besides actually keeping the nutrients in them, instead of letting them leak out to the boiling water, this method lets you actually taste the vegetables. You can actually taste the vegetable, not just butter, salt or whatever alliums you put on them. Other people in this list have already said they prefer the opposite.

    DS really likes veggies fresh from the garden. Too bad we don’t have one.

  39. Thank you Rhett. That is exactly what I was wondering. I would love to see that on the scatterplot compared with GDP. I suspect that many of those counties eating a lot of vegetables are consuming potatoes, beans and cabbage because people cannot afford more meat and poptarts.

    We have had a string of Au Pair’s (five) from South America, mostly Colombia. They are disappointed and appalled by the amount of vegetables we try to eat at every meal. It is not at all what their experience with American TV had promised them.

    In our own home, having a weekly vegetable box really increases our vegetable consumption. I hate throwing things away and knowing the more touchables are coming tomorrow but I will find a way to eat them today.

  40. I eat a lot of veggies because I love them. My favorite places to eat have menus with lots of salads ot vegetarian options. I eat chicken, fish and meat, but I just could eat veggies all of the time.

    I just wish my child liked them a little bit more than once or twice a week. The only vegetable she really likes is broccoli. That’s a great one, but I’m working on some others.

  41. I think vegetables must have something in them that some people perceive more strongly. I like almost all vegetables and it doesn’t really matter how you prepare them. I mostly like them. My daughter is the same. She will happily munch on kale or asparagus. My boys have a much harder time with vegetables. Some actually make them gag and they are not particularly fussy eaters. My husband is much more sensitive to veggies, too. I haven’t noticed this with fruit, dairy, carbs or proteins even though everyone has preferences.

  42. “and I like steamed veggies because besides actually keeping the nutrients in them, instead of letting them leak out to the boiling water, ”

    Assuming that’s true, and that it occurs to a significant degree, if you’re using a method where the green beans or just greens are “cooked down,” then you’re still getting the liquid. You’re not dumping it all through a colander like you would drain pasta.

    “this method lets you actually taste the vegetables. You can actually taste the vegetable, not just butter, salt or whatever alliums you put on them.”

    See, I was going to post the exact opposite. The flavor comes out when it’s actually cooked. The half-raw crispy green beans have no taste other than the cheese or vinegar or pepper that’s on them.

  43. TLC, companion planting takes up less space and than the way most suburbanites gardens–big plots of individual species, with lots of chemicals to replace the nutrients and pest-fighting that companion plants would provide. I agree with you that most urban gardening projects don’t provide surplus veggies to sell, but they can feed families for half the year. They probably increase consumer demand for veggies the other months.

  44. At my weekly BBQ place, they have the best green beans you’ve ever tasted.

    I’ll put mine up against them any day. I have Southern style green beans down pat. The key, I’ve learned, is the brand of frozen green beans and the cut really, really matters.

  45. The half-raw crispy green beans have no taste other than the cheese or vinegar or pepper that’s on them.

    As Kate mentioned for many that’s a feature not a bug.

  46. “I’ll put mine up against them any day. I have Southern style green beans down pat.”

    Recipe, please!

    I also roast green beans with sliced red bell peppers and onions. Yum!

  47. I have a few veggies I don’t like and it is more likely the case that I haven’t found a way I like them prepared. Eggplant falls into that category. I don’t care for the taste of okra, arugula or cilantro, but don’t dislike it when it only makes up a small portion of the dish it is in (such as gumbo or salsa).

  48. My kids will eat a vegetable casserole (veggies with a bit of white sauce). I know that the white sauce has a bad reputation but a little bit doesn’t hurt and they eat a whole bunch of veggies at one go.

  49. Kate, I agree with you completely. Brussels sprouts used to make me gag as s kid, but we were made to eat what was served. I have vivid memories of me gagging in the Brussels sprouts while my dad yelled at me to not throw up. Good times. I have not eaten them since I left home. If I put both broccoli and apple slices on the table with a quick dinner, my son will eat the entire bowl of broccoli but refuse to touch the apples. People with strong taste preferences are just wired that way. I am not sure it’s something you can change.

  50. We grow some vegetables, but gardening is time-consuming and often inconvenient. (You have to weed and harvest at times when work is busy or during school vacations, for example.) In areas where rainfall is insufficient, you have to water, which is expensive if you’re on city water. My garden is a net loss, financially.

    I was annoyed by this quote in point 4. “As we wait for more data for these other programs, there is compelling evidence that suggests growing fruits and vegetables at community or home gardens can get people eating healthier without much investment.” Because the time investment that my Midwest relatives make in weeding, harvesting and canning doesn’t count according to research criteria, because it’s an investment made by individuals and only government investment “counts” for research purposes. ARRGGGHHH!

    One of the reasons what I’ll call “old school” rural people got by on lower cash incomes than urban people was doing for themselves. One of my acquaintances who was part of the National Guard for Hurricane Katrina recovery and a later hurricane recovery the same year in western Louisiana observed how the rural people in western Louisiana took care of themselves and National Guard duty was mostly helping elderly people clean up and delivering insulin. In urban New Orleans, people with the same income levels behaved chaotically and National Guard duty was more like policing.

    Having grown up gardening, I know how much work it is. Access to vegetables ties into our ongoing discussions about agricultural workers, the social safety net and immigration.

    I agree strongly with Ada’s points that the Mediterranean and India have cuisines that use fresh vegetables but in the rest of the world, that is less true. Dietary recommendations need to consider what is achievable for a planet with 8 billion people, not just what is statistically healthiest for individuals. I first developed that viewpoint as a response to the recommendations on fish consumption.

  51. Oh, I love Southern green beans. Especially if made with nice fat pole beans. While bright green beans with a little snap and a touch of butter are fine, there is something about those lovely soft fat beans, with bacon or better yet, country ham (the real stuff) that is just heavenly.

    Greeks also like their beans well cooked. One of my fave recipes involves sauteeing fat pole beans in olive oil and lots of garlic, and then adding really ripe chopped tomatoes and a touch of white wine. Cover and simmer for 25 or so minutes, then add Kalamata olives and feta. Oh, yum, yum, yum

  52. We kids used to fight over the sprouts when I was little. But that was because my mother cooked them right. Not crunchy, not squishy. Just right. And we always put lots of butter on them.

  53. OK, I have to get back to work. But here is one more: fave ways of cooking collards.
    1. I put a ton of them in the slow cooker with some chicken brothe and a country ham hock, the strong funky kind that you can only get down south, so I have them sent up in care packages. Cook for at least 5 hours. Eat, maybe with some hot sauce.
    2. Saute in olvie oil with minced garlic. Sprinkle good parmesan on top. Eat.
    3. Saute minced ginger, garlic, and chiles in oil. Add collard greens. When they have wilted, add sichuan hot bean paste (doubanjian). Then sprinkle in a little soy sauce and a little chicken broth and steam for a couple of minutes.

  54. “I first developed that viewpoint as a response to the recommendations on fish consumption.”

    You can do the aquacultures where the plants feed the fish and the fish feed the plants and everyone’s happy, and then we eat the fish. The world can have as much tilapia as it wants.

  55. I have vivid memories of me gagging in the Brussels sprouts while my dad yelled at me to not throw up. Good times.

    Is that done any more? I don’t get the impression that it is but I’m not sure.

  56. WCE, sure, people in rural areas take care of themselves–they have more resources to do so. You’re not going to find many crawdaddies or mushrooms per capita in a city. I just read yesterday that the workers at Driscoll’s want people to boycott the berries this summer. Bummer for us, because my son will eat a quart of strwaberries, a pint of blueberries, and as many blackberries as I’ll get him in an afternoon.

    Austin, I love eggplant in any form. Have you tried babaganoush?

  57. Recipe, please!

    Okay, but it’s less a recipe and more a treatise. Also, the key here is to keep trying them and adjusting cooking times, salt, etc. until you know what your family likes. I’ve made so many batches of these I can’t even count. At least once/week, every week.

    Green beans: get the frozen “cut green beans.” Not french style, not whole ones. I find the non-organic ones have a funny texture, as if they have a wax coating on them (?). So I only buy the organic ones. I like the Whole Foods organic ones the best. Cascadian Farms used to be good, but the ones I’ve bought recently have had a slight sour taste to them, hard to describe but definitely affected 2 different bags that I cooked. Not sure if it was a bad batch or if they switched suppliers. Play around with brands. Most are 10 oz bags, so I make 2 bags at a time for our family because these go fast. Sometimes I find a 16 oz bag and just do one of those.

    Cut an onion into big chunks (I use Vidalia when in season, or the sweet yellow onions from Peru when Vidalias are not in season). The reason I do big chunks is because not everybody likes pieces of onion along with their green beans. They have a great flavor, but they can be a little slimey. If you do big chunks, whoever doesn’t like them can easily pick around them when getting their green beans. If everyone likes onion, then you may want to dice it up.

    Put onion in heavy bottom pot. I use a small Le Crueset. Add a little bit of water, but not too much. You just want some moisture in there, but you’re not boiling the green beans or even simmering them. Just cooking them with moisture. I start with 1/2 cup of water and will add a little more during the cooking process if the pot gets dry (if pot gets dry you are likely cooking them on too high a heat, rushing them, because you forgot to start them and now you’re behind on supper).

    Dump frozen green beans on top of onion. Add about a tablespoon of salt and stir. Note: how much salt to add is a huge personal preference. Also note different brands of kosher salt have different levels of saltiness. Morton’s is much saltier than Diamond Crystals. Under-seasoning the green beans is a sin for which you will repent during all of supper. Stir the salt in.

    Place 3 pieces of raw bacon on top of the green beans. Some recipes will tell you to dice your bacon and render out the fat, then cook your green beans with them. I think boiled bacon is disgusting and can’t stand pieces of bacon on my fork. So by placing 3 pieces on top of the green beans during the cooking process, you infuse the flavor, and then you just pull them off and toss them at the end. But you MUST have the flavor of the bacon. If you open your fridge and find no bacon, then no green beans for you. Making them with just the onion and not the bacon leaves them with an unfinished, flat taste.

    Turn up the heat enough to get that little bit of water at the bottom good and hot, then give everything a good stir. Put the lid on, turn the heat down low, and let them cook for about 30 – 45 minutes (closer to 45 minutes) until they are that lovely, melt in your mouth texture (but not soggy – there’s a difference). Check on them occassionally and stir. Add more water if the pot goes dry, but if you’re constantly adding water, you’re cooking on too high a heat.

    The end.

  58. We ate dinner at a friend’s house last night and the rule was you needed to finish your bowl of spicy beans (with lots of onions, and other vegetables) to have dessert (a homemade cupcake). We don’t do that at our house, but their house-their rules. My kids were in tears as they choked down (or were spoon fed) their small portions. They were reminded that no one has to eat anything she doesn’t want to, but dessert is for clean plates.

    In general, I think that making kids choke down food they don’t like can be pretty counterproductive. However, it was a bit gratifying to see the kidlets eat something challenging and survive.

  59. We’re somewhere in between. To rate dessert, you have to give everything a reasonable try. I can tell the difference between “not liking something” and being truly averse to it. But there’s no forcing, obviously. Just extortion.

  60. Rhett I don’t think it’s done to the extent it once was. When I was a kid I think that was normal. I do still hear people make comments that imply that’s how they run things, but a couple of those people were childless.

    And Mooshi’s love of Brussels sprouts has almost convinced me to try them cooked the way she describes. Almost. I’ve only had them cooked in the true Irish fashion of boiled too long and put on the plate, no seasoning involved. (And my mom no longer cooks this way, in her defense, but that was how all veggies were prepared when I was growing up.)

  61. S&M, I’m familiar with companion planting and do a certain amount of it in my own garden, but it requires a fairly substantial knowledge base of plant pairings and crop rotation. Most people more than a generation off of the subsistence farm aren’t going to have that base. It’s the sort of thing where it would likely require a good deal of hands on training and or reading along with multiple years of trial and error to figure out. We have a lovely perimeter of marigolds all around the garden which supposedly deters pest insects. It didn’t do our green beans any good, as they were cut down by beetles shortly after they germinated. We had to replant and put down poisoned cornmeal. Our bean patch is still pretty spotty, but we will get some beans. Last year, we were really busy in June and missed a critical weeding window as the young plants were getting established. We eventually unburied everything from the weeds, but were rewarded with significantly reduced yields.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, gardening isn’t really all that easy. And that’s coming from someone who enjoys it, has been doing it for a lot of years, and comes from a family background where gardens are important.

  62. We are definitely not in the choke-it-down category. Dessert is contingent upon manners at the table. Trying something new in a polite manner is good manners, but if I’ve made something that you already know you don’t like, you don’t have to eat it. Or, if you are genuinely not hungry but you still sit at the table politely and just hang out with us but don’t really eat, you still get to have the little candy bar or bite of ice cream or whatever if you want it.

  63. Our kids like a bunch of veggies raw: cucumbers, tomatoes (sometimes, and the 4yo still calls them ‘potatoes’, which is awfully cute), peppers, carrots, frozen peas (!), broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Sometimes if I am considering cooking the veggies, I will ask them first and 9 out of 10 times they will want it raw instead.

    My favorite veggie is now brussels sprouts with bacon. Mmm, bacon!

  64. i buy my vegetables,because growing them is hard and
    1) I have better things to do
    2) I have no way of forecasting what I want to eat two to three months ahead.

    I like Brussel sprouts tossed with olive oil and salt and roasted in the oven.

  65. I will ask them first and 9 out of 10 times they will want it raw instead.

    I always thought that was due to texture. But, Milo mentioned flavor as well and I’m trying to think if cooking releases more of that “essence of vegetable” that makes some people gag?

  66. Milo, same. Give it a good college try and you will probably get dessert, unless you lost your dessert for yelling “I hate you” at your sister, or similar. :)

    Rhett – I really miss my old stove. The one we have now is a Viking but it is from the early 90s and only has 15,000 BTU. Totally insufficient!

  67. Several months ago I researched the scientific basis for the “five a day” recommendation. Unsurprisingly, there isn’t much of one. Some epidemiological studies that are problematic. I have a real animus toward a lot of the public health industry and against a fair number of MPHs that I have met. They’re mostly bossy puritans who weren’t smart enough to get into med school. All the stuff that Gary Taubes uncovered about there being NO BASIS for the low-fat high-carb recommendations of yesteryear just reinforced my feelings. And if you look at their nutritional profiles, tons of vegetables (e.g., cucumbers, green beans) have no particular nutritional value. I still eat the goddam five a day but I don’t think there’s any good basis for it.

  68. Thanks Lark. I love the detail you go into. I’m going to try your beans without bacon (DH is vegetarian). Hopefully I can counter the lack of bacon with liquid smoke and Cajun seasoning.

  69. My kids are old enough that most of the dinner battles are over. If a kid hasn’t liked something for the last ten years, I don’t think they are going to start liking it tonight. I also don’t view it as a reflection of my cooking skills. And, if 75% of the family likes something, I will make it, and try to have an alternative for the other.

    So, we always have salad and vegetable, everyone can eat one or both. I have enough food allergies in my family, combined with really strong food preferences/dislikes that I never got into making anyone eat any particular thing. We focused more on refusing food politely. After all, I have never liked tomatoes, and I don’t have to eat them, so why would I make someone eat squash?

  70. “People with strong taste preferences are just wired that way. I am not sure it’s something you can change.”

    True.

    some people (about a quarter of the population) have a version of one taste receptor gene, known as TAS2R38, that makes them more sensitive to the perception of bitter.
    http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/10/01/352771618/from-kale-to-pale-ale-a-love-of-bitter-may-be-in-your-genes

    We had DNA testing done and found that one of my kids is likely to have that particular gene. The rest of us love most bitter greens. I particularly like beans and greens dishes.

    This thread is a treasure trove.

  71. “Is that done any more? I don’t get the impression that it is but I’m not sure.”

    You have to remember that in 1950, food costs accounted for about one-third of the average family’s total budget. It’s less than half of that now, and certainly far lower for the upper-middle class.

    If you were spending one third of your after-tax income on food and still trying to listen to the government health advocates about feeding your kids vegetables, you’d be forcing them to eat the damn green beans, too.

  72. I enjoy panzanella, but the main challenge is having the bread on hand. We usually buy a loaf of crusty bread once a week, and the leftovers get moldy after a few days. I need to remember to stick it in the freezer.

    “Our summer go-to dish is a black bean salad with black beans, corn, cucumber, tomatoes, salsa, spices/olive oil/vinegar, and cilantro. ”

    Different versions of this, usually with black-eyed peas added, are called cowboy caviar or redneck caviar. I love it. But skip the cuke, one of those veggies I can’t stand.

  73. Oh please, Mooshi, that article is ridiculous. “It may do this, it may do that, it’s a rich source of blah blah blah.” One serving of green beans has 15% of your Vitamin A requirement, which doesn’t make it a “rich source”. Go look at the actual nutritional profile instead of some article gurgling about how green beans cure cancer, infertility, and depression on the basis of no evidence. Here’s the profile:

    https://www.birdseye.com/vegetable-products/pure-simple/cut-green-beans

    You’re the one who’s always shrieking with extra exclamation points that people without PhD’s in math are too stupid to understand the use and implications of big data, but some drivel about green beans and depression passes muster with you? Shaking my head.

  74. Gardening is hard work, and it is generally not very cheap. It would cost me less $$ to just buy everything except the herbs at the farmer’s market, and it would probably be better for the environment too. I have a container garden because I have a sunny rooftop deck, but I do not live in a SFH.

    I do it because I enjoy the hobby, and because I very much enjoy the fresh veggies and herbs. With a small rooftop garden, we don’t have a surplus at all – we mostly eat it as it is grown, but in this climate, that means that I have fresh tomatoes & peppers from July – early October. Not a long time. Sometimes I have extra to make a salsa verde to freeze or a veggie lasagna to freeze, but not always. I do buy some extra produce at the farmer’s market to freeze, but not a ton. Mostly blueberries and corn which both freeze well.

    I am with MM that there is an attitude that veggies prepared with any flavor (and that includes salt) are seen as “unhealthy” so why bother. The chain restaurant sad frozen medley is the worst. FWIW, for a lot of veggies, I don’t think you even need to boil/blanch them. Some things, like broccoli florets, do really well in the microwave. And they taste great microwaved with just a little bit of something with fat like butter (let’s say 1T for 4 servings, so no oil bomb) and maybe lemon juice/zest if you have it.

    Rhett – I think you are wrong about frozen chicken nuggets and frozen tater tots. I think that they are generally medicore at best, and generally pretty vile. They taste good at restaurants because they are fried. Baked they go wrong almost all of the time.

  75. I make my kids try things but they don’t have to eat things that they don’t like. They get dessert (usually consisting of 4 chocolate chips or a Hershey kiss, occasionally something real and big) for behaving and eating what I consider enough. I don’t make separate meals but if we are having broccoli I will cut up some carrots, for example.

  76. Babaganoush – yes tried and dislike. Also, dislike hummus….I think its a texture thing as much as a taste thing.

    Brussel sprouts —– my favorite vegetable! Use fresh ones, peel off any discolored leaves, cut off any long stems and then quarter. Rinse them and drain. I make about 2 cups at a time for me as no one else in my house will eat them. Fry three slices of bacon in a small frying pan. Drain about 1/2 the grease off. Put in brussel sprouts and toss to coat. If there is still standing grease, use a paper towel and wipe it out. Add salt, pepper, a little garlic powder, toss. Put the lid on and with heat on medium let cook about 8 minutes – checking and stiring about every 2 minutes. In the mean time, chop up bacon to add at the end. When sprouts are tender, add chopped bacon and serve.

  77. We like veggies. Our veggie box keeps us eating veggies, as does Cooksmarts. Not going to complain.

    DS will eat veggies coated in something – like tomato sauce or a stir-fry style sauce. But he’ll devour those veggie pouches – go figure. When he was younger, he loved raw mushed up carrots, now he can’t stand them. I’m wondering if his taste buds changed, or his developing texture preferences. He will usually try anything we put in front of him, but his face is priceless if he doesn’t even like the feel of something in his hands. And then he won’t even try it – he throws it on the floor to the waiting dog.

    DS has yet to meet a fruit he doesn’t like. Texture is tough though – slightly out of season pineapple or melon and he won’t touch it. But if the juice or fruit is mashed up with something else, he’ll eat it. This summer he ate his weight in blueberries and strawberries.

    My goal (10 years going strong) is to expand DH’s palette. It’s working. He eats more veggies and fruits now than he ever did eating at home. He takes an active interest in what we are serving, growing, or need to pick up from the store/farmer’s market.

  78. Given that the Birds Eye serving size is a teeny amount of food (my 16 year old would typically eat 3 times that amount, and actually, so would I), yes, I think 15% of your vitamin A is pretty good. It is a lot better than your Tater Tot profile
    https://www.caloriecount.com/calories-ore-ida-tater-tots-i88629

    but not as good as spinach
    https://www.birdseye.com/vegetable-products/boxed-vegetables/chopped-spinach
    (although that is a larger serving size)

  79. @RMS – I agree. One thing that is a massive pet peeve of mine is the lionization of “super foods” or demonizing of others. I think it is generally all total BS. Kale is not going to save the world, and white bread is not the devil incarnate. Putting acai into a bottle of mostly orange juice doesn’t make it markedly “healthier” than orange juice. What does “healthy” even mean for an individual food separate from everything else you eat it with. Breaking down each food into it’s component vitamins is a total waste of time.

    Eat a variety of things over the course of a day/week/year and don’t worry so much about whether or not blanching vs. roasting vs. microwaving vs. eating raw preserves the absolute most possible nutrients. That said – I do think that eating a variety of vegetables regularly is probably healthier for you in the long run than eating none (or eating them only in french fry and ketchup form). But our overall health is way more than just the combinations of food in our diet too.

  80. I think you are wrong about frozen chicken nuggets and frozen tater tots. I think that they are generally medicore at best, and generally pretty vile.

    If you’re a 5 year old kid and your mom is both busy and a terrible cook do you want her making you frozen brussels sprouts or frozen nuggets and fries?

  81. My DH has stopped eating a lot of vegetables that his parents claim he used to eat in his childhood. They are astonished and annoyed that all their years of having a healthy diet has produced a now adult who refuses to eat his eggplant. DH claims that his parents are not remembering correctly and he always didn’t eat a bunch of veggies. Not sure who is correct. So fair warning here, those vegetable eating kids could turn out to be big pests.

  82. Southern style green beans probably have no discernible nutritional value whatsoever, but they are worth eating because they taste good. A lot better than baked tater tots, which are sorry little things.

  83. “If you’re a 5 year old kid and your mom is both busy and a terrible cook do you want her making you frozen brussels sprouts or frozen nuggets and fries?

    Neither. Tell her to fry up some bacon!!!

  84. “If you’re a 5 year old kid and your mom is both busy and a terrible cook do you want her making you frozen brussels sprouts or frozen nuggets and fries?”

    Touche. :)

    But what if your mom/dad/nanny is not a terrible cook?

    Brussels sprouts are not a veggie that does well being frozen, IMHO.

  85. Haven’t read all the comments yet, but this seems like a good post to ask if anyone has a spiralizer that they like and recommend. I’ve been looking on amazon, but there are way too many to choose from. Analysis paralysis strikes!

  86. MM,

    That’s not a good comparison. The comparison would be cooked according to package directions. The frozen green bean package says add 1/2 cup of water to 3/4 cup green beans, boil for 5-6 min, drain and serve. The bacon fat is doing a lot of the work in your original comparison.

  87. I am a pretty good cook, have lots of time and, objectively, my Brussels sprouts are probably better than the chicken tenders that I make the kids. But at least my boys will always pick the chicken tenders if given a choice. Including over the vegetables that they do like.

  88. As for chicken nuggets, to be honest, if you’re making greens that are cooked in chicken broth, bacon fat, and the rendered fat and protein and salt from a hambone, you are building with the same component flavors as a soft, proteiny chicken nugget dipped in salty ketchup.

  89. But what if your mom/dad/nanny is not a terrible cook?

    Then brussels sprouts or green beans are amazing.

    However, if they want to address the problem of people not eating enough vegetables then they need to tackle the problem of them being so much harder to cook and store than their highly processed carb, protien and fat based rivals.

  90. I’m not the one promoting the tater tots and chicken nuggets. I’m not Rhett.

    But you have a legal right to your green beans, as well as any tater tots or chicken nuggets and kale chips that you want. As I said, I always eat five servings of vegetables a day. I do not think that I am morally superior because of my vegetable consumption. I do not think others are inferior because they like tater tots. Food consumption has no moral significance, unless you want to get into the horror show that leads up to the bacon on the grocery shelf. But I eat bacon too, so I’m certainly not going there.

  91. If you’re a 5 year old kid and your mom is both busy and a terrible cook do you want her making you frozen brussels sprouts or frozen nuggets and fries?

    I’m an adult and my wife and I are both decent cooks and neither one of us is going to touch a a Brussels sprout.

  92. Personally, as far as non-veggie kid food goes, I think a PB&J tastes better than baked chicken nuggets. Baked chicken nuggets are pretty meh – the texture is terrible including the breading that doesn’t crisp up right in the oven, and they are tasteless. A PB&J has the salty/fatty/sweet thing going on too. It’s also even easier.

    What’s even worse than baked chicken nuggets and baked tater tots are the “healthy” versions where they throw in a little organic kale to make moms feel better about making baked tater tots. Just make the regular ones – they are at least edible. Even worse are the recipes for homemade veggie “tots”. TONS of work, and still not that good because the whole concept is bad.

  93. However, if they want to address the problem of people not eating enough vegetables then they need to tackle the problem of them being so much harder to cook and store than their highly processed carb, protien and fat based rivals.

    And as has been mentioned, you need to also address the problem that it is difficult for most people to cook them so they taste good.

    As for chicken nuggets, to be honest, if you’re making greens that are cooked in chicken broth, bacon fat, and the rendered fat and protein and salt from a hambone, you are building with the same component flavors as a soft, proteiny chicken nugget dipped in salty ketchup.

    Right, are the veggies really any healthier when they are cooked that way?

    This discussion reminds me of Seinfeld’s line to Newman: “You wouldn’t eat broccoli if it was covered in chocolate sauce.”

  94. if you’re making greens that are cooked in chicken broth, bacon fat,

    At Legal Seafood one of their apps is Bang Bang Cauliflower. It’s deep fried and has this awesome Kung Pao sauce and it is sooooo good. It’s 850 calories a serving.

  95. Mooshi,

    By the same process that America interpreted and modified any number of ethnic dishes?

  96. We don’t do tater tots, but we will take tiny potatoes and bake them with olive oil and a little seasoning. I think that tater tots are only good when they are fried, and I hate frying things at home–it smells up our house.

  97. Rhett, but usually there is some kind of tenuous connection – an American taco resembles a Mexican taco, spaghetti and meatballs does involved tomato over pasta. But this isn’t even close. It is as if a German person fried some shrimp and called it a hot dog.

  98. In the home country addition of a little clarified butter (ghee) makes many veggie greens taste great. But my MIL despises that practice. She hasn’t thought through why that was done. Similar to adding a little bacon the taste of fat makes the veggies taste better.

  99. I’m not saying the bacon collard greens are bad. I just wonder how much of the actual greens do we really need, and for what? Iron? “Nutrients”?

  100. I just wonder how much of the actual greens do we really need, and for what?

    Complex carbohydrates & fiber?

  101. Mooshi,

    Near as I can figure bang bang refers to chunks of chicken which can be prepared in numerous ways. The bang bang chicken with sauce in the wiki article looks pretty close to bang bang chicken here.

  102. Hi guys – checking in from Alsace. Don’t have time to catch up now, but speaking as a veggie-hater, ITA with Rhett: it takes more cooking skills to make veggies taste good. First, they have to be fresh – works great here, when you run to market every day or two, not so much when you rely on a weekly grocery run. Second, you can’t be afraid to add fat and salt for flavor (very against the US “health food” approach — sorry, Mooshi, but I’ll take Rhett’s tater tots over boiled broccoli any day of the week). And then you have to know what flavors to add to round everything out.

    The other day, we had lunch in a cafe and I got a salad. It was fresh greens, a very mustardy vinaigrette, and baguette toasts with melted real local muenster on it. It was so good – even for someone who doesn’t like veggies – that I have been re-creating it for dinners. The magic was how it all went together – the cheese was too strong by itself, the dressing was way over-the-top dijon on its own (gave me Passover flashbacks at times), but somehow it all balanced out perfectly. That took skill — whereas the local knacks and frites – dogs and fries – are equally awesome with much less skill required. Tonight was salad # 3, and it was definitely passable (thanks in part to the prevalence of lardons in the markets – bacon makes all dressings better), but it’s still not as good as that lunch.

    Finally, this is probably sacrilege, but we just have much better crappy food in the US. There is nothing like Chick-fil-A here (at least that I have seen) — the fast food is like the crappy fast food that I remember from when the choice was McD’s or BK. So the fast alternatives to cooking real food are just not as appealing – unless you’re giving up entirely and going direct for the tarts in the patisserie. 😉

  103. One way to make veggies very tasty is to make kimchi. My favorite part of the various Korean plate lunch places here is getting to choose from their selection of kimchi.

  104. Also, fat makes a lot of vegetables healthier. Fat soluble vitamins (ADEK) get absorbed better when there is oil nearby. The absorption of beta carotene (a form of A) is zero if eaten in a salad with no fat.

  105. No, Rhett, the wikipedia page is incomplete. The term bang bang does refer to the process of pounding the chicken, but what they leave out is the rest of the recipe. And it is a classic SIchuan dish, served all over Sichuan province and codified in the official cookbood put out by the Chengdu culinary institute (which is very famous in China). It is always a cold dish that involves spicy, shredded, poached (or steamed) chicken
    http://www.chinasichuanfood.com/bon-bon-chicken-bang-bang-chicken/
    http://themalaproject.com/chengdu-challenge-22-saliva-mouthwatering-chicken-kou-shui-ji-or-bobo-chicken-or-bang-bang-chicken-or/

  106. Some things we do to get more veggies into our diet:

    -In dishes that use tomato sauce, I’ll often substitute a can of vegetable juice (e.g., V8) for a can of tomato sauce.

    -I’ll often add a bottle or two of pureed vegetables (e.g., baby food) into a pot of chili, stew, or similar dishes. I’ve experimented a bit to make sure there is no noticeable change in taste.

    -DW has experimented with adding frozen chopped spinach to a lot of things. A couple nights ago, she added a box to a pot of curry, which still tasted very good.

    -I’ll sometimes add a bit of veggies to the smoothies I make the kids for breakfast. Whenever we finish a bag of frozen veggies that includes broccoli, I’ll use the broccoli crumbs for this.

  107. “Also, fat makes a lot of vegetables healthier”

    So, from Milo’s assessment of greens cooked in all sorts of fat are akin to the yummy nuggets and tots, and Ada’s statement re: absorption of nutrients, I hear that veggies cooked in fat make them taste better and are healthier for you.

    Have we solved the problem? :)

  108. Mooshi,

    You have American Bang Bang Chicken which is fried chicken with spicy sauce. You have Sichuan Bang Bang chicken which is chilled chicken in a spicy sauce. Two variations on chunks of spicy chicken.

  109. So it appears that authentic Bang Bang Chicken (via Chegdu and MM) has a sauce. And a variation of that sauce is put on cauliflower, shrimp and just about anything else, which then becomes Bang Bang Quinoa.

    While the sauce that MM references is not initially similar to the American version, they are not so different to the sad, sad palate of the average Bonefish Grill patron.

    Sweet Chili Sauce
    Mayonaise
    Sriracha
    Sugar

    vs.
    sesame paste
    water
    rice vinegar
    sugar
    2 tsp chilli oil (optional*)
    sichuan pepper
    sesame oil

    Also, Italians never eat meatballs on spaghetti.

  110. Given that they are actually dumping Kung Pao sauce on the chicken, why don’t they just call it American style Kung Pao chicken? Or cauliflower, which someone posted above. Kung Pao does exist in China, and involves deep fried chicken in a sauce. Sorry, but by your logic, I could serve chicken parm and call it curried chicken. They both involve chicken in a sauce.

  111. Off topic – how long do you wait for a medical provider? I got to my dental appointment 10 minutes early and had done all my paperwork online. It’s now 25 minutes past my appointment time. I am planning to leave at 30 minutes. Am I being unreasonable?

  112. MBT – the only problem with that is you’ll cut off your nose to spite your face, because you’ll just have to make another appointment some other time. I’d wait it out, then switch providers if this their normal MO.

    We watched Supersize Me with the kids not too long ago. Pretty fascinating.

  113. Ada, what you are not getting is that sweet chilis sauce, mayo, and sriracha taste completely different from sichuan pepper (which is a numbing taste) and chili oil (which is blinding and never sweet). Sweet chili sauce and sriracha are mainly sweet sauces with the merest whiff of spicy. I don’t think mayo even exists in China.

    Sorry, I just like truth in advertising. Why don’t they just call it Asian style sweet fried chicken?

  114. MBT – have you talked to the person behind the front desk to see what the situation is? Could an emergency thrown everything off?

    I typically don’t go and just wait because it usually takes me way too long to get appointments anyway. If you aren’t returning to work after, what do you have to lose? Granted I haven’t had to juggle kid pick up in that equation, so YMMV.

  115. Sorry, but by your logic, I could serve chicken parm and call it curried chicken.

    So, like how people in Philly call pasta sauce gravy?

  116. “Also, Italians never eat meatballs on spaghetti.”

    Come to think of it, my Italian grandma never made meatballs in my lifetime. She made filling for raviolis, but not meatballs. That was one recipe I had to learn from online and books.

  117. “So, like how people in Philly call pasta sauce gravy?”

    It’s not just Philly. People who claim to be Italian (or really are but like to prove their authenticity) call it “gravy”, or more specifically “red gravy”. I’ve heard it from northern NJ to MA.

  118. Speaking of things having different names in different places – The Great British Baking Show is back on and better than ever.

    It’s interesting to note how many things have different names in the UK. They were making creme brule and they have to make the top crust “under the grill.” Turns out the grill is what British people call the broiler.

  119. Rhode – I’m not returning to work but still have things I need to get done, so will work from home when I get out of here. They have done X-rays now, and I’m waiting again. I just have no patience for people who are disrespectful of my time. They have not even acknowledged the delay.

  120. I always had understood that what Italian Americans call gravy is meat and tomato based, and that is called sugo in Italy – and one of the translations of sugo is gravy. Am I wrong on that?

  121. MM — My H’s Italian family use the terms that way. If it’s a meat sauce they call it gravy.

    MBT — That they have not even acknowledged or apologized for the delay is infuriating. It’s true that you might end up wasting more time if you reschedule. It might be time to change dentists. I have one doctor who routinely keeps me waiting for 30 minutes or more. I’ve spoken up and they’ve tried to respond, but even his first appointment is often late. I have to see him every other month, but I like him enough to put up with it.

  122. I was at the dentist this afternoon. There were a bunch of magazines with articles I wanted to read that I was annoyed when they called me back immediately.

  123. Rhett, neither, but green beans are good right out of the microwave pkg they’re sold in, cooked or not. I really hate school lunches, because they introduced my kid to things like tater tots, but even preschools in the US feed kids a huge amount of crap.

    Rocky, I don’t pay much attention to diet recommendations that are dictated by agriculture.

    Austin, trying again–rolltini or eggplant parm?

    TLC, the easy way to garden is the way I described suburbanites doing it–big plots of individual crops, replanted with the same thing every year and left empty when that crop is finished. There are lots of things online about companion planting. It is possible for people who have not had knowledge of their ancestors’ milpas passed down over generations to learn some basic combos and to look up things like what pests do marigolds repel, what are those things eating your bean crop, and what do they not like.

  124. Laura, no good crappy food? No pommes or waffles? I bet you can find really sweet crepes. When you get to Germany there will be Nordsee fish restaurants, brats, and gyros.

  125. We planted a garden this year to at least get DS to touch a vegetable without throwing up (I mean I hope he will put a finger on it, not that one will pass his lips – let’s keep it realistic).

    For now he gets pea crisps, French fries and a multivitamin. He won’t even touch ketchup.

    Just now he saw a few flecks of basil on his pizza and refused to eat because it was “covered in grass.”

  126. My son has just reminded me that he likes saag paneer, matar paneer, and pad see ewe. The restaurant/packaged versions anyway. I have made saag paneer from several different recipes; he’s never liked it. Didn’t matter if I didn’t tell him it was home made, if we made it together, or anything. Amy’s makes it better, in his opinion. As much of a hassle as going from fresh bundle of spinach to plate of saag paneer is, I’ve decided to accept that.

  127. I am watching the food documentary and in it the narrator says that food should be tasty, aromatic (extremely important) and should be energetic (add to your health).

  128. Currywurst, brats, and all the sausages! They meld together in my mind, because I don’t eat meat.

  129. Saac, my neighbor’s kid (age 7) has announced she is an ethical vegetarian (and has stuck to it for a few months) – any resources you would recommend for helping them learn to create a balanced vegetarian diet?

  130. Does anyone here belong to their neighborhood group on nextdoor.com?

    I wonder if I didn’t have The Totebag if I’d be as nutty as some of my neighbors. There’s a thread that’s been going for a few days about some Jehovah’s Witness going door to door looking for converts. But we clearly have a “No Soliciting” sign at the entrance! What should we do? Did you get a description? Yes, older, maybe 60s, white female, silvery hair, [meme?] driving a black Lexus. No, I thought the Lexus was dark blue. Oh yes, it could have been that. Then someone pipes up that based on a Supreme Court ruling, communities and local governments have no authority to prevent people from spreading religion or selling Girl Scout cookies door-to-door. Then someone says that when she came to their house, she didn’t have a car at all, but was WALKING! (Apparently, this is cause for even further suspicion. Imagine, *walking*! Who does that?!

    The cautious consensus–for now–is to politely refuse the religious invitations and send her on her way, but if she doesn’t leave, then DEFINITELY call the Sheriff’s office.

    This is almost as upsetting as when two youths were going door-to-door peddling magazine subscriptions last year.

  131. Milo, yes, and the exact same conversations. Also, venting about neighbors who park a car in the street. Our neighborhood ALWAYS calls the sheriff’s department on solicitors. It’s an improvement that some will now use the non-emergency number instead of 911. And don’t get me started about the ranting about suspicions of pot smoking going on at the newly-built skate park.

  132. SM – Now I have to try Amy’s Saag Paneer to see what makes it so good. My kids like the restaurant Tikka Masala curry which has lots of cream to home cooked authentic made from scratch curries with no cream. They call restaurant curry – “red sauce”.

  133. I never liked cooked vegetables as a child, and rarely made them as a Mom, because all I ever had growing up was Birds eye frozen overcooked. And that was because we were comfortable – otherwise we would have had canned. Calves’ liver, stringy spinach, and fibrous asparagus were my gag and sit at the table for an hour till I ate it stuff. It was just the way it was in the 50s. As an adult I swore I would never eat or prepare any of those foods again. And we always had bread growing up (challah in my house, thankfully) and margarine on the table as part of dinner, and often a jello salad, to go with some sort of well done meat and a starch and the veggie. In my Mom days, we had a green salad and a starch either as the main dish or with the main dish unless we were serving stew or hearty soup. Water to drink for financial reasons and dessert was only an occasional special treat. We did have sweet starchy breakfasts.

    Today I simply don’t serve much starch any more as a side dish. I prefer grilled, sauteed, or steamed veggies (i did learn to love some of them) or chopped salad with my steak or fish and leave my allotment of refined carbs for real pasta. I made a tuna noodle with homemade noodles, Costco italian style tuna in olive oil, and homemade cheese sauce (once every few years on the menu) the other day and it was goooood. I don’t care for large leafy greens and DH is supposed to avoid them (along with salt and sugar).

  134. I was thinking today that if I were trying to get rich by inventing a weight-loss diet, my rule would be that you can eat absolutely anything you want, in as large of quantities as you want, but whatever it is, that’s the only thing you can eat for lunch or dinner the rest of the week. As I mentioned, I had leftover fried chicken for lunch, and it was delicious, but I realized that the thought of eating it again for dinner was very unappealing. For better or worse, I had made a brisket in the crock pot this morning that I turned into beef BBQ sandwiches, and I had half of one for dinner. But if all I could have had was fried chicken, I would have skipped it and been fine.

    I really think that we overeat not because we have too much carbs or fat or sugar or processed foods; the problem is the endless variety and choices. You’re probably sick of what you had for lunch, or for dinner last night (let alone for the last six nights), but no matter, because you can easily and cheaply have anything you want tonight.

    With my diet plan, you would never go hungry. But after six days of eating hot buttered lobster rolls (that would be my first week), I would not want more than a claw. In theory, it can’t be all that different from the pre-TV dinner diets even as late as the 1950s. There was maybe a big meal on Sunday, but then the leftovers were eaten repeatedly. There’s no reason to ever be hungry, but you’ll also never be fat.

    I may give this a try.

  135. Next door is a little too crazy town here, too. There is a problem (my community and many others) of posts going up about people of color walking down the street looking suspicious.

  136. We’re having a parking lot meeting at 6:30 tomorrow. We are on week 4 of the garbage in the house rat eradication protocol and neither the management company or the trustees have done anything to move the needle on ordering a critter proof dumpster or enclosure.

  137. Good to nextdoor.com is the same everywhere. A person of color was seen in a truck driving slowly down the street! What to do?

  138. I don’t think we have a neighborhood chat group, but I saw on Facebook that ODFW confirmed a cougar sighting from someone’s game camera less than 2 miles from here. Since cougars have a range of ~200 square miles, that’s close. ODFW likes images so they can confirm “cougar” and not “bobcat”. By the time they confirm, the cougar has usually established its territory.

  139. Someone on our nextdoor site was outraged because a couple of kids were playing ring and run, and they had the nerve to continue to do it after they saw him watching them.

  140. Louise, *I* didn’t say it was delicious. A kid who found Kraft Easy Mac far superior to homemade mac & cheese (but now won’t eat either) did. I expect you’ll find a similar relationship between Amy’s palek paneer and whatever you’re accustomed to.

    Ada, police not simply racist themselves, but responding to racist calls for “assistance”? You don’t say!

    Sky, I can ask a friend whose daughter declared herself vegetarian at about that age if you want (but my friend is a civil rights attorney in Cleveland, might be sorta busy right now). It’s tricky when only one person is vegetarian, because the temptation is to just make the same thing for everyone, but leave the meat out of theirs. That works occasionally, but over the long haul it adds up to poor nutrition. Either her meals will take special prep or they will have to think of things everyone likes–the Asian dishes throughout this thread, Mac & cheese, pizza, whatever. The books I read when I became a vegetarian were great, but are ancient by now–Laurel’s Kitchen, Diet for a Small Planet by France’s Moore Lappe (who has since started the Food Research Institute and might have updated info on its website). Rose Elliot’s Complete Vegetarian Cuisine was wonderful for me, but might be out of print now. Even if she can get it, your friend should skim it first–it has techniques along with the nutrition and recipes, and I expect she already knows the techniques. Then again, it’s open on my dinner table right now, because we were making tomato sauce. There are also specialty cookbooks like grilling for vegetarians, or your friend could find things online so the daughter doesn’t feel left out when everyone else is having burgers or steak. I’ve found that cooking in an iron pan is enough to keep anemia away, and I frequently snack on raw nuts. Is any of that helpful?

  141. Milo/MBT/Ada/RMS, amongst you, you have described at least 50% of the conversations on our neighborhood’s Next Door. The remaining posts are people trying to sell things for ridiculously small or large amounts of money, posts about stray/lost pets, passive-aggressive gripes about lawn maintenance/garbage can positioning etc., and occasional arguments about various coups related to management of the neighborhood recreational facilities. It’s entertaining when it’s not just sad.

  142. Meme, that sounds like my dad’s Cumadin diet.

    Milo, you’ve just described the way my kid eats. Goes through two boxes of Cheerios and over a gallon of milk in three days, and won’t eat anything else. Then it’s bananas or oranges. Then the last pieces of fruit are left to rot while he moves onto, idk, graham crackers and peanut butter. We really do need to start keeping track of his diet!

    Does anyone know of an app like My Fitness Pal that works for kids? We could use MFP, but then we’d have to constantly compare the numbers to ideal stats ourselves–so much more convenient when the app does it and you simply see that you need more Magnesium or whatever (yes, I’ve used the detailed reports for myself). I’d love to find something like that for him, especially because we’d need to look at periods much longer than days, probably longer than weeks. Bloodwork shows he’s fine, but he is tired constantly, and several knowledgable people have suggested looking at his diet.

  143. The nextdoor chatter in my neighborhood is just as crazy. 100+ comments about the school playground, endless comments about the city adding sidewalks, or adding apartments near the mall, because, gasp, the transient families will move in (pearls being clutched everywhere). The latest is should a craft brewery be allowed in the neighborhood (the drunks will come!). I imagine that the older commentators are those whose kids have aged out of the school district, and this gives these parents a new outlet to be in everyone’s business.

  144. I haven’t heard of the Neighborhood app, but I’m in a couple of local FB Swap n Shop groups. Two of them are fairly normal–people getting rid of decorations they no longer want, baby things as their children grow, offloading furniture when they move or decide to redo the living room. But one of them is insane. It’s fillled with people who buy shampoo or house cleaning products or the like on the cheap and then sell them in the group, people who make some kind of “crafts” & want money for it, people looking for work or trying to make their living by selling on there, and other strange things. I’m pretty sure the reason is the moderator, not the character of that neighborhood. When I once made a comment about the irritating detergent posts, she was right there defending them as a central part of the page. Whatever, lady. I once posted on there that I was looking for a trainer to help build up certain body parts, and got inundated with weight-loss things, some of them pretty dubious, and the moderator posted about a dozen separate replies to my query with before /after pictures of clients of someone she knows. Yikes! That’s the last time I’ll try that! I am using them to sell off items as I declutter/weed out our stuff.

  145. Yes – the apartments! There are some under construction in our neighborhood, and although they will be more than some people’s mortgage, there is pearl-clutching here as well. The best response was from a neighbor who teaches in a low-income school in the district who declared she would rather teach the apartment-dwelling kids at her school than the children of the entitled twits writing those posts.

  146. @Saac — no, there is *plenty* of bad-for-you delicious stuff here (just walk into any patisserie or boulangerie). Just not so much of what a parent would feed a kid and call it dinner. A few takeaway sandwiches on baguettes, some small pizzas at rhe local boulangerie, the occasional tarte flambée for takeaway. Mostly it seems like the crap stuff is for the occasional snack or treat, and the stuff that is designed for meal substitutes is way, way less appealing.

  147. Houston – I have been thinking about vegetarian green beans. Do you ever save the rind from a hunk of Parmesan cheese? I always do & have a bunch in my freezer. I throw those in a soup or stew for the last 5 – 10 minutes of cooking, and it might work with green beans as well. It gives a certain flavor depth/umami that is the same role of the bacon. Have not tried with green beans but might work.

  148. Another vegetarian option for getting that smoky umami flavor is to use chipotle in adobo. Just use the adobo. It does add heat, though, so kids might not like it.

  149. This would have been better on the credit card thread, but I recently discovered Passage Maker Magazine online, and I really want the print subscription (I’m obsessed). It’s expensive, probably due to low circulation, but DW knows how to use EBates for just about everything, and EBates gives you a blanket 40% off of everything at Magazines.com. And they mail you a Big Fat Check.

  150. Louise – That Rachel Ray green bean recipe (frozen beans) was a sunday dinner staple of my childhood. My mom made it two ways – one with the almonds, and one with cream of mushroom soup and canned mini fried onion rings. Her special brisket was canned tomato sauce and Lipton’s onion soup mix rubbed all over and the meat roasted forever wrapped in tin foil. When my kids were teenagers and she could still cook, they would request the pot roast, the bean casserole and a black cherry flavored jello mold made with coke, canned bing cherries, canned pineapple and nuts. They were definitely tasty.

  151. I was reading this article on Chris Kresser’s site a month or so back and it was an interview with a dr. who was theorizing that one of the problem’s in everyone’s diets is not only the amount of veggies eaten but the sheer lack of diversity in what vegetables we eat. People tend to eat the same stuff – broccoli, green beans, carrots, etc. when there is so much more out there. So he was hawking vegetable powders that you could sprinkle on your dishes as a way of getting more vitamins/nutrients easily. I can’t find the transcript of the interview now but it was an interesting idea.

  152. Off topic hearkening back to customer service. Verizon Wireless just sent me an email offering a new money saving plan. I went dutifully to the website, input the choices and saw I could save a lot, and put in for the change. Message pops up, sorry we can’t help you call customer service. So I have the time and call. After ten minutes on hold the guy says, well, we can’t do this for you because of x. Let me talk to someone, and then he comes back and says, actually, in your case it would cost you more! I thanked him, and today when they called me back with the customer satisfaction survey I let the machine recording my complaint have it, politely. I may go in sometime to the mall and have a human being explain to me why I don’t qualify, but it certainly did not endear them to me.

  153. Gahhhhhh. On the nextdoor/service provider note, I am trying to find a house cleaner and a window cleaner since the house is large, has many, many cobwebs, and the windows are all dirty. (My theory is that the prior owner never looked UP since everything is stored down low, etc.) The one small-town window cleaner provider here with a web presence, Angie’s list reviews, etc., refused to estimate the job since the prior owners were rude to them, so now I have to find other people. Sigh.

    I looked at nextdoor here and there is very little traffic – mostly people spamming with their real estate services, one lost dog, and then one useful thread about an auto mechanic.

  154. Well, only if complaints about people of color walking down the streets were limited to next door.com. Last year someone called a cop on a visiting grandfather from India walking down the neighborhood street! And wouldn’t you know, our boys in blue assaulted him so bad he ended up in the hospital fighting for his life! I have no sympathy for cops after that!

  155. There are quite a variety of vegetables in a normal grocery store. We also visit ethnic grocery stores and there again, the range is astonishing. Not quite sure who is buying all these varieties if we are stuck on B for broccoli.

  156. ” I have no sympathy for cops after that!”

    Do we always need to go through the same analogies? Do we have to point out some horrible crime that some black criminals did to draw a parallel, etc., etc.?

  157. I truly believe in wisdom of ancient traditions eating locally like our ancestors used to. Before potato and refined sugar/oil was introduced that is!
    I also believe vegetables do more than just provide vitamins and minerals off of a checklist. They modulate our hormones too, among other things.

  158. Thanks Lark and Rocky. I’ve never cooked with either chipotle or parmesan rinds. I’ll give it a try.

    Louise: We buy those fried onions regularly. : )

  159. Off topic… does anyone think it the least bit co-incidental that Roger Ailes is fired as the head of Fox News on the day Trump is officially nominated?

  160. Rhett – If Finn were awake, I think he’d point out that the two events are certainly coincidental. What you’re asking is if they’re not merely coincidental.

    And I have no idea. I don’t know why the guy was fired.

  161. “I truly believe in wisdom of ancient traditions eating locally like our ancestors used to. ”

    Local to whom? And why? No oranges unless you live in Florida?

  162. Lots of good recipe ideas here. We’ve eliminated the daily rice/pasta/couscous from our dinner and replaced it with vegetables, so we have at lease two veggies with dinner, sometimes more if there are leftovers. I find that veggies are more flavorful, and beat a chewy steak or dry chicken breast hands down. I prefer to cook with boneless chicken thighs because they are so much more juicier than breasts. We’ve also cut back on the frequency of steak, but when we do eat it, it’s a better (and pricer) cut of meat.

    Regarding the term “gravy”, I’ve only heard Americanized Italians use that term. My Italian friends, who are first or second generation with parents off the boat, have never used that term.

  163. “I truly believe in wisdom of ancient traditions eating locally like our ancestors used to. ”

    Before iodized salt, people were deficient based almost entirely on geography, whether the water and soil in their area had enough of the micronutrient. Diseases resulting from the deficiency, most commonly goiter, or swelling of the thyroid, were extremely common.

    The differences by geography were vast, making the effects easy to isolate. Seawater, for example, is rich in iodine, but glaciers depleted iodine rich soil in places like Michigan:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/iodization-effect-on-iq-2013-7

  164. Who cares if Italians put meatballs on pasta or not? Italian immigrants put them on pasta during prohibition when they ran speakeasies. I also love meatball subs, which I am sure were not dreamed up in Italy, but they are delicious. Can food not change and be adapted? Italy didn’t even have tomatoes until after Columbus (and didn’t like it at first). The crappy food that other countries call “American food” that is totally inauthentic doesn’t really bother me either.

    Bang Bang is a catchy name. There are plenty of places in Boston to get more authentic Asian cuisine.

    I think “gravy” is more of a NE term. Like dropping the last vowel in the names of Italian meats and cheeses.

    Our Next Door is exactly the same. And lest anyone think from the National News that the entire city is under siege – once the fireworks complaints from the 4th of July passed, the latest argument has been what to do about a stray cat that has been hanging around the neighborhood (feed vs no-kill shelter vs animal control) and lectures about people putting garbage in the recycling bins.

  165. “I think “gravy” is more of a NE term. Like dropping the last vowel in the names of Italian meats and cheeses.”

    Both of these were big on the Sopranos, probably exaggeratedly so for comic effect. “The gravy is good today.” “Eat your manigut! [manicotti]”

    I just get annoyed at the people who are so eager to ‘correct’ someone for saying “ricotta” with three syllables, or not pretending that the “C” is a “G.” Yeah, we get it, you’re from Long Island. But it’s not as if you would go into Chipotle and suddenly start rolling your R’s when you order a burrito.

  166. “But it’s not as if you would go into Chipotle and suddenly start rolling your R’s when you order a burrito.”

    Chipotle is NOT AUTHENTIC, Milo! ;)

    And yes – please don’t correct me for not having a NE Italian accent. I am a Midwestern 6th generation German. I would sound ridiculous saying “manigut”.

  167. I looked at NextDoor but there is no group for my area. It doesn’t really matter because there are several FB based local groups (moms in my town, schools in my town, kids in my town, stuff for sale in my town, etc) which serve the same purpose.

  168. Meme — I received a similar email from Verizon. I’m not surprised about their response, and I may get the same when I check. I’ll post when I find out.

  169. Those cut off vowels are actually typical of southern Italian dialect. A lot of the immigrants from the turn of the century through mid century only spoke dialect, not standard Italian. My college BF, who was from Naples, had an elderly aunt living in the US whom he couldn’t even really communicate with because she spoke no English or Italian, only a dialect that he said probably had died out in Italy 50 years ago.
    In any case, that is where pronunciations like fazoll for fagioli fome from.

  170. I wish we had Nextdoor. There is a similar group nearby, but they seem to have a cut-off border about a block away from our house.

  171. Eating locally: Cabeza de Vaca described stopping in some village in North America (I forget where, exactly) where the local indigenous people basically ate straw for several months of the year. They died a lot.

  172. ATM – DH and I are going to a show at the Bell House on 7th St & 2nd Ave Saturday night. We are staying in NJ and can either drive in or take public transit. Which would you recommend? I found a near-ish garage on Garfield & 7th Ave. Would that be a safe (I have no knowledge of Brooklyn) neighborhood to walk through near the midnight hour? Public transit seems fairly simple for us, stopping at the station on 4th & 9th.

    Ridiculous simple question, but I have no knowledge of Brooklyn.

  173. My grandmother who lived in Italy for half of her life made excellent meatballs and served them as a side dish (she used beef short ribs in her sauce), didn’t use the term gravy and pronounced pasta fagioli as pasta fa-schol.

  174. RMS, around here the indigenous people ate a lot of samp (cornmeal mush). I made it for Thanksgiving without butter or milk once, and no one thanked me :)

  175. Rhode – Very safe neighborhood. Between 4th and 2nd Avenues, there is a bunch of new development, and the neighborhood has been converting what used to be more of a warehouse district into a residential area, especially near the Gowanus canal, so you still see some remnants of that. Garfield & 7th is the heart of Park Slope, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Brooklyn. My kids have taken classes at various places in and around 4th Ave. & 9th St., and 3rd Ave & 7th St. – all very safe. I’d recommend taking public transportation since its cheaper. The walk from Garfield to 2nd Ave is a bit long. You should also be able to use Uber/Uber Taxi easily if you decide you don’t want to walk.

  176. Thanks ATM. I figured it was pretty safe, but google earth has the Gowanus section looking so industrial, my 1980s set fears of the city crept in.

    I looked at taking Uber from NJ to the show and back – would be about $120. Expensive, but not a huge hassle. Looks like public transit from NJ to Brooklyn will be about $10 per person per way, so $40 will win out. Car would be time, tolls, and $25 to park. Most likely over $40 but cheaper than Uber. It’s for DH’s birthday so I’m letting him decide. I downloaded the google map app for directions and trains to take at what times so I don’t feel lost at midnight…

  177. Proponents of eating locally are usually residents of Mediterranean climates, not places with short growing seasons. I love eating local fruits and vegetables when they are in season, but when they’re not, bagged salad, mini peppers and supermarket cucumbers are a nice addition to canned items.

    I’m glad I don’t have to eat like my ancestors. My ancestors were hungry several months of the year.

  178. I thought that we were supposed to eat locally because it was better for the environment?

  179. “I thought that we were supposed to eat locally because it was better for the environment?”

    That’s what we were told, until people actually started looking at it and realized–surprise, surprise–that the amazing supply chain efficiencies that make Walmart and Kroger so profitable also mean that they use the least amount of fuel to deliver. Of course, I’m dating myself, as that was back when both political parties were talking about that sort of thing, one stridently and the other begrudgingly. That topic is now all but gone from the “national conversation” on either side. And Britain just dismantled their government agency on climate change.

  180. ATM – I’ll probably be OK because there seem to be a lot of bars and places to keep people nearby. And I remember my “wolf stare” well. If anything, we’d Uber to the parking garage – even though it’s only a mile.

  181. Interesting. I am not a big fan of the local eating thing because I like strawberries in March and avocados year round. I am not even a fan of the little garden we have going on in the backyard. I spend so much time on it! And my kids waste so much water! And they throw the little cherry tomatoes all over and the dog keeps squishing them and making a mess. It has done much better and produced much more than I expected.

  182. We have had a very hot summer. I picked 15 cherry tomatoes last night. I can mail you some, locavores be damned!

  183. My issue with strawberries in March has nothing to do with the environment. It is simply because they don’t taste very good! And tomatoes – well, I use canned tomatoes most of the year, and only eat fresh ones in July/Aug/Sept. Again, nothing to do with the environment – I just find supermarket tomatoes in March to be sad little ping pong balls.

  184. And weird garden thing – I have pole beans planted this year, and they are lush and gorgeous, and growing like crazy. But they are not flowering. I may have the most ornamental, non producing pole beans ever. I looked up reasons why they wouldn’t flower. Mainly it seems to be over fertilization, but I haven’t fertilized at all!

  185. We’ve gotten a few cucumbers. Big, honkin’ ones, too. I was amazed. To think that this thing you can eat just comes right out of the ground like that–MY ground. I’m only being partly sarcastic there.

    And my 7-year-old was excited to give me two blueberries the other night (my share). They weren’t very sweet, but I didn’t say anything. The basil had to be dug up and replanted in a pot that was moved inside the screened porch, as the Japanese beetles developed a taste for it and nearly obliterated it.

    I have been drinking a lot of mint juleps. DW relocated that to a basket hanging off the deck railing, and it’s even growing out from under the basket.

  186. Our tomatoes have been kinda sad – producing beautiful fruit, but not growing very tall. I think it may be how cool it’s been here (dry, too). I have to pick the cukes soon. Again, they didn’t explode like last year. I can’t figure out why though. I have a tree that may be growing and shading out my garden at key points of the day.

  187. The cucumbers have kind of freaked me out. They will be small and then 2 days later they are huge. Very creepy. The lettuce replacement time is very fast, too.

  188. Cucumber plants will also strangle other plants. They creep me out in general

  189. My issue with strawberries in March has nothing to do with the environment. It is simply because they don’t taste very good!

    Maybe you aren’t buying the right brand. If you like the Driscoll flavor, there are pretty good year round. Other brands are generally ok, but not as consistent and have a different flavor.

  190. I do not like the Driscoll strawberries. They taste like cotton. Actually, they taste like winter supermarket tomatoes.

  191. I do not like the Driscoll strawberries.

    That would be a problem. I knew someone else who didn’t like them. I always preferred them, but everyone has there own tastes.

  192. The supermarket strawberries, including the Driscoll’s which is about all we can get here in the winter, are huge, firm, and kind of white in the center. They are sweet, but without much other flavor, and that white center is often not even sweet. When we get local strawberries in the summer, they are much smaller, and are red all the way through. They are like these intense little flavor bombs, quite different from the supermarket ones.

  193. A lot of produce in Texas comes from Mexico so we have pretty good options for majority of the year and it seems local….it’s right next door! I miss having a vegetable and herb garden but don’t have a backyard or the time these days. Nothing quite like vine ripened tomatoes with fresh basil.

  194. Also Trader Joe’s frozen Indian (many vegetarian and many without gluten) dishes are pretty good. I often want to lick the plate the sauce has such good flavor.

  195. Dell, that is terrifying about the grandpa being beaten by the cops. The best thing I’ve seen about the recent spate of shootings was something to the effect of how bizarre/backwards/notable it is that if a cop is frightened and loses his cool, it is an entirely understandable and excusable response, but if a civilian is stopped by a cop, they are expected to remain calm and follow exactly the appropriate procedure at all times. It’s so awful that people are expected to follow protocols and rules of engagement because of their birth, but not because of a uniform they put on!

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