On Sunday, I woke up craving asparagus. The problem was, I was super hungover and could barely stand up, let alone get dressed, go to the grocery store, purchase and cook asparagus. But I also really, really wanted some vegetables. I’m not sure why, but these are the things I really crave, especially during winter months. I dream of peppers, broccoli, chard, beets, onions and cabbage. I long for apples and cherries and raspberries and peaches. Sure, I also often really want less healthy processed foods, like chocolate or peanut butter, but it’s the fresh produce that I really miss. One cannot live on PB and J alone. Ever since I started living on my own and cooking for myself, I’ve always spent more time in the produce section of the grocery store than anywhere else. This is partially because I know consciously that produce is full of nutrients and fairly low in calories. But it’s mostly because I really like vegetables. There’s a reason I picked that luscious shot of shiny farmer’s market veggies as the header for this blog.
So it astonishes me that other people don’t really eat vegetables. Actually, Americans don’t really eat vegetables. I’m not even going to cite any damn statistics because you know it’s true. My little brother, for instance, buys milk, meat, cheese and bread at the grocery store. That’s his normal diet. Sometimes he buys pickles. My brother represents millions of Americans who don’t know how to purchase or cook vegetables.
This makes me really sad. I was reading Elissa Altman’s Poor Man’s Feast, one of my favorite food blogs, and she posted recently about the dearth of veggies on the American plate:
Vegetables are simply not a part of the American culinary lexicon: give a man a kohlrabi and he won’t know what to do with it. Give a man a steak, and he will. In this nation, built on the backs of the cattle industry, vegetables have almost always been relegated to a secondary or tertiary spot on the dinner plate, assuming they’ve shown up at all.
Altman says we can only fix this with education:
Make them required classes so that not one graduating American kid leaves school without the basic knowledge of what a stalk of broccoli is, where it came from, and what to do with it.
That would sure be cool. For now, all I can do is inflict my pro-produce agenda, one little brother at a time.
Oh, and on Sunday, I drank some tea, took a Tylenol and bought peppers, brussel sprouts, cabbage and chard at Good Food Store. Yeah, after all that whining I forgot to get asparagus. The brussel sprouts fuckin’ rock, though.