Formerly Known As Delicious
Above: homemade bread topped with melted cheddar and fresh garden stuff... chopped red russian baby kale, chives, garlic seed-head, and basil. Drizzled with olive oil. Sprinkled with salt and pepper. Totally out of this world.
As a child, I loved to go to my grandmother's house. She grew vegetables in army quantities... potatoes, zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, peas, green beans. Her land also swelled with fruit... cherries, mulberries, gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries, currants, blackberries, plums, pears. I knew what a real vegetable tasted like. I understood fruit beyond canned cocktail.
In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver discusses a generation of children — our children — whose life expectancy will be shorter than the previous generation's. And it's largely due to what we're feeding them.
Some of it is our own fault. We live with the mantra of "convenience", sacrificing homemade meals to the gods of busyness. And some of it is a more subtle problem. The fruits and veggies, especially those taken out of season, just don't taste like they used to. Why should we expect our kids to want them?
I like the way Kingsolver explains the loss of deliciousness...
"How did supermarket vegetables lose their palatability, with so many people right there watching? The Case of the Murdered Flavor was a contract killing, as it turns out, and long-distance travel lies at the heart of the plot." (p.48) This plot centers largely on the breeding of "indestructible vegetables...creations that still looked decent after a road trip." Forget about the whole issue of being picked green or sitting for weeks before landing on our plates.
Maybe the place to start is to hand our children a hoe and a seed packet, then later a watering can, and finally a morning of harvest. Whether we let them wield a knife in the kitchen, to help serve it up, will be according to our level of bravery.
I can say that this has worked in part for me. We're still trying to cultivate tomato love. But squash and cucumbers are in the bag. Not the grocery bag mind you. Just the one that my kids label, "I'll eat this, because it's home-grown delicious."
"Fresh Herb Sandwich Above Sara's First Nine Patch Square." Photo, by L.L. Barkat.
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L.L.'s Tomato Abstinence