Vegetarian Variety

Today is the 73rd day of my grand experiment to see if I can go 366 days without eating flesh.  So far, it’s not been much of an issue.  I like vegetables and fruit.  There are very few that I don’t like, and I am willing to experiment; so, I have had a great deal of variety in my menus. 

There are so many fruits and vegetables available to people that it amazes me so many folks limit themselves to green beans, potatoes, corn, green peas, and iceberg lettuce.  Seriously folks, the self-imposed finickiness of eaters is stunning.  “I won’t eat that because it’s green.”  “I won’t eat that because it’s orange.”  “I won’t eat that because it’s red.”

I mean I get that texture can be off-putting.  We were given a large quantity of chard the other day.  The fact that it’s an unfamiliar green to many people is enough to prevent some people from not trying it.  This can be amplified by the fact that it wilts as it cooks up; although, it wilts far less that most greens.  The thing is, though, it is a nutrition powerhouse, and it really tastes good – especially when cooked with caramelized onions and garlic.  Yummmm!

Unfortunately, most people eat with their eyes, an evolutionary protection that has kept us from poisoning our species since we first began to gather berries.  The thing is we have millions of years of experience behind us, and the food knowledge compiled over the last ten thousand years is truly staggering.  This allows us to get past the rancid smell of fermenting grapes and enjoy a glass of wine.  It lets us know that not every member of the nightshade family is completely poisonous and provides us with a great accompaniment to pasta.  We are able to know escarole is one of the most flexible greens around – suitable for salads and soups and stir-fry.  Food allergies aside, there are not a lot of risks for the modern day eater when eating properly prepared foods.

The point is – Stop being a fraidy cat when it comes to food.  Try this experiment for the next three months:  Each week, select a fruit or a vegetable you have never, or rarely, ever eaten. It’s getting to be Spring, and the grocery stores will offer a lot more selection.  Google your new found friend for recipes (e.g., “escarole recipes”).  Then fix one of those recipes for one of your meals.  You may find that you truly hate something; but, more often than not, you’re going to find something you like.  And, your culinary experience will be enriched. 

As Julia Child would say, “Bon appetit!”

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