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What a Difference!

May 14, 2012

A  part of the Baby Boomer generation, I was raised in the Garden State, a name that confused me since my town was in the continuous development between New York and Philadelphia. The truck gardens located in the southern part of the state were not known to me for years.

But not to worry, we had lots of grocery stores! My mom was a nurse and fed us nutritious meals with a healthy mixture of meats, veggies and starches. Everything was made from scratch.

But until the cost came down on frozen vegetables, this is how my family accessed spinach. I was not impressed….it tasted tinny to me and was overcooked.

I was introduced to raw spinach in my 20s and quickly made spinach salad part of my recipe repertoire.  And then, in my 40s (wow, so long) I was given a Basque recipe of spinach with pine nuts and raisins where the spinach is barely wilted, and I learned that cooked spinach was palatable.  It had just been overcooked for my taste before.

My experience with beets was similar. It was open the can and heat as the standard method when I was growing up.  Again I was not impressed. I don’t know why borscht was more palatable for me…perhaps the sour cream or the cold temperature minimized whatever it was that I didn’t like in the heated version.

My point is, I learned how to like some foods I had not liked as a kid by changing up the temperature and cooking method.

Along came our membership in a CSA this winter and the first box that offered us beets caused some raised eyebrows, but we’re game and my husband is an excellent cook, so in we plunged. What could be the worse thing that happened? I would not like it and I would not eat more.  I certainly would not starve and I firmly believe I have better control of my gag reflex as an adult.  *G*

But first, the were so pretty! Candy cane beets with white and pink-red circles!  They were sweet and very flavorful! I realized they had not been pickled which had been my entire experience prior to fresh beets! What a difference!!!

So, based on my own experience, being brave to get out of the rut my mothers’s cooking skills put me in was a good change for me, and it probably would be for you too!

19 Comments leave one →
  1. May 14, 2012 1:53 pm

    I can still smell canned peas and want to vomit. How could something so sweet and delicious from the garden be turned into something that smells and tastes so foul?

    • May 14, 2012 2:13 pm

      And the sad part is that so many people who were turned off to the smell and taste of canned peas may never be willing to try it fresh…..all we can do is say, as persuasively as possible…give it a try.

    • Teresa Silverthorn permalink
      May 14, 2012 6:29 pm

      Whoa…thought I was the only one with that vile memory lol

      • May 14, 2012 6:33 pm

        I think smell and taste are a deep memory…and it takes guts to try again

      • Teresa Silverthorn permalink
        May 14, 2012 6:35 pm

        Not in can!

        Ok, I’ll try fresh peas. 😀

  2. May 14, 2012 2:39 pm

    To me, fresh, raw peas are better than candy. I still remember a motorcycle ride not long after I met my husband where we stopped at a fruit stand and bought a big bag of peas. I started popping the peas as we rode along. I couldn’t resist. At the next stop, my husband couldn’t believe all them peas were GONE!

    I’ve made the same discoveries you have, Beth. Have learned to love beets and best of all brussel sprouts. The only thing I haven’t been able to warm up to is fennel.

    • May 14, 2012 2:41 pm

      Well, I’ve never said everyone should eat everything…just be willing to try it in a form different from the way you might have had it before. But an herb may be an unchangeable taste.

  3. May 14, 2012 2:46 pm

    Canned food is basically unedible to me (meaning the canned goods in grocery stores). Home canned vegetables are actually quite good. I love fresh beets and couldn’t believe the range of flavors from various types. My wife now likes beets as well, and she thought they were disgusting, having only had the canned/pickled kind. I wasn’t allowed to leave the table until my plate was clean as a child, I used to scrape the canned peas off onto the floor for my dachshund Gus to eat. He just left them there. Needless to say dad found them and I got to tour the corner for a bit. The only fresh vegetable my wife ate as a child was corn on the cob at the end of summer. It was local in her area and absolutely wonderful. All the other vegetables her family served were canned or frozen. She thought she hated vegetables for years until trying the “real thing”. It really does make an incredible difference! And it is so important to get both kids and adults to try the real thing. I think far more people would very happily eat their vegetables if they did.

    • May 14, 2012 2:56 pm

      As the growing season progresses there will be more and more local produce available. I suppose the first step is to just suggest fresh veggies, but once you understand that produce usually found in the grocery store is picked green (not ripe) in order to transport it the 100s and 1000s of miles, then you might still be surprised to learn how it still does not taste the way fresh picked produce tastes. There are layers and layers to getting to healthy eating habits, but the easiest one is the switch to available local produce…for its taste and to support the local farmers!

  4. May 15, 2012 9:41 am

    Great post and discussion from our friends at wvfarm2u…

  5. May 15, 2012 3:54 pm

    Thanks for this.. Growing up I didn’t know anything but frozen vegetables. Now I wouldn’t touch them with a 10′ pole. Have to confess, I still like canned corn.

    • May 15, 2012 5:44 pm

      My father-in-law grew corn one year and I honestly preferred to eat it cut off the cob….we all have our preferencs

      • May 15, 2012 8:59 pm

        Oh, I love and prefer it off the cob. I grew up on Long Island and we picked and ate it the same day. That said, I still like the canned stuff.

  6. May 16, 2012 10:10 am

    I remember that spinach well and it was so disgusting. Stringy, army green colored mush. I so agree that fresh locally grown veggies are a wonderful wake up.

    • May 16, 2012 10:26 am

      So, we all agree…but how do you get someone who doesn’t spend time int heir kitchen to consider to try fresh?

  7. May 17, 2012 8:59 am

    Invite them over for dinner – serve them something fresh from the Farm that excites you!

    • May 17, 2012 2:39 pm

      Patti….my husband is a really good cook and when we have people over and they comment on the food tasting so good, we tell them about the freshness and what came out of our garden and where we got the rest…..they nod, lose their smile and comment how he is an excellent cook. I think getting people to spend time in their own kitchen is part of the issue.

      • May 17, 2012 2:46 pm

        It is easier for the cook to see – and appreciate. We find, most people can tell that it tastes really great, but couldn’t know how much difference the Farm Fresh food contributes to the Chef’s finished dish.

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