Me and greens

I HAVE A LOVE-HATE THING with greens.

It’s more hate than love, if I’m being honest. I tolerate them. And actually, it’s not just greens. It’s mostly all vegetables. Raw ones in particular. OK, fine, cooked ones, too. All the leafy greens. I eat them because I know I *ought* to, but they only taste good to me when I’m ravenous, and even then, if there are other attractive options, I won’t.

(This sounds a lot like how I feel about bananas. Do you sense a theme?)

Steve, being from the South, wants me to like cooked greens, but I just…can’t. I think they taste like lawn clippings smell. I didn’t grow up eating them and I can’t think of a good reason why I should start at age 50. But, at his behest, I tried them recently at a Cracker Barrel in Virginia, to see if somehow over the years my taste buds had forgotten about that time Little Meg tried them at Aunt Fanny’s Cabin in Georgia and, gagging and sputtering, dramatically spit them into a napkin. Turned out my taste buds hadn’t forgotten, and I didn’t spit them out because I’m a grown-up now, but I did make faces and he photographed me, amused at his Yankee girl’s reaction:

It’s January, and everyone in the whole world is rededicating him- or herself to healthy eating, and so am I. I’ve modified my diet to cut out all sugar (which isn’t a stretch for me) and wheat flour (which is), reducing dairy, and avoiding processed foods. It’s Whole 30-ish, and it works for me.

One easy way to check all of my self-imposed dietary boxes is to eat a nice green salad with delicious vegetables and added protein. I find salad to be a lot of work to consume. You chew and you chew and you chew some more and even after all that chewing your plate is still more than half full, as if the salad somehow regenerates itself each time you remove a forkful. I usually get tired of salad before I get full of salad. It requires too much effort.

Nevertheless, today at lunchtime I set about filling my plate with some baby arugula I had rescued yesterday from Steve’s fridge. But then I noticed the date on the bag:

arugula
BEST IF USED BY 01/01/2018

Something about me that kind of vexes Steve is my urge to purge his refrigerator of food that’s past its prime or its date. If the lettuce has started to liquefy, I know you’re not going to eat it, so I’m tossing it and I’m not asking for permission. Same with that mushy zucchini, and those leftovers you saved from a dinner three weeks ago. Run to the light on this. My threshold may be low, but in the name of food quality (and safety), I’ll take the criticism all day long.

Despite the date on the bag, the arugula looked ok, and I was really hungry. So I grabbed a handful and sorted through it with patience and precision. I noticed one small leaf that was starting to turn. I pulled it out. Same thing happened with the next couple of handfuls. After careful examination, I deemed these greens satisfactory for consumption and topped them with some grilled chicken and a couple of hard-boiled eggs and a generous shake of Greek dressing.

I was feeling proud of myself for not having automatically trashed the bag based on the date alone. I texted Steve:

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He replied:

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We feel the same way about most vegetables, as it turns out.

We are good for each other.

 

Bananas

I NO LONGER RECALL whether, in my nine years as a so-called blogger, I’ve written about certain themes here, or just riffed on them on FaceBook. So forgive me if you’ve heard this one before.

IMG_2343I don’t love bananas. I tolerate them. I feel obligated to eat them. Like it’s something I ought to do, because they’re good for you. All that potassium!

I believe there’s only a very small window when a banana’s ripeness is within the Ideal Eating Zone, and it’s usually something like 12:30pm – 5:00pm on a Thursday. Before that, too firm. After, too soft and good only for adding to fruit smoothies or making banana bread.

I’ve been known to buy one because I feel like I should, then carry it around until it is past The Window. It turns out, bananas are not nearly so good for you when you don’t actually eat them.

You can disagree, but this is how I feel about them.

This was my mindset as I purchased, on my way to work this morning, a banana and a bottle of water from a vendor. I had both hunger and thirst, and these items seemed the most efficient way to remedy both conditions. I placed my items at the register.

Cashier: A water and a banana.

Me (not yet sufficiently caffeinated): A water and a banana.

Cashier: $3.50, please.

Me (answering the question he had not even remotely asked): Bananas are healthy. I feel like I ought to eat them.

Cashier: I can’t eat ’em. The doctor says all that potassium isn’t good for me.

Me (looking wistfully at the trays of banana muffins): I wish I had that excuse.

I was a good girl today. I ate the banana, even as I wished for the muffin. (I make no promises concerning tomorrow.)