I’ve never been one of those picky eaters, who cringes at the sight of something green. Broccoli, brussels sprouts, asparagus, and swiss chard; I inhaled all of it with open arms and an even open-er mouth. This was partially because I was spoiled by fresh produce that my mom grew in her extensive garden. And also because my childhood dinners operated under the tenet that every vegetable tastes good if you put enough butter on it.
My first experience with a truly bad salad didn’t come until my freshman year of college, when I finally encountered the sad salad bar; complete with mealy chopped apples; tasteless, soggy spinach; and still half-frozen green peppers. This was not the fresh garden salad to which I was accustomed. This was hell.
I successfully avoided these disgusting vegetable imitations and attempted to stick to those which I could purchase myself from the local farmer’s market for the duration of undergrad. My love for the green stuff remained strong.
Recently, though, my food habits have followed from this initial trauma, especially in the past few months, as it has turned from summer to late fall. Time and time again I have found myself leaning towards meals almost exclusively consisting of meat, cheese, and carbohydrates. The thought of a raw vegetarian meal almost makes me gag.
Seasonal is definitely a food buzzword. Along with organic, local and fresh. These terms are deployed loosely by grocery stores and restaurants, so much that the products they describe completely dissociate from the concepts used to market them. Even the words vegetable and salad themselves have a connotation with health that is not necessarily correct. McDonald’s can call a dish they serve you a “Garden Side Salad,” and they can tell you it has “a wonderful crisp, refreshing taste.” But when it comes to natural flavor and nutritional value, it might-as-well be plastic.
The truth is not that I suddenly hate vegetables. It is, more accurately, that I seasonally hate vegetables. My aversion is not to veggies in their true, pure form: plucked from the earth and covered in sweet dirt. It is to the waxy real-life mockeries which infiltrate my city-bound existence. Just because we live in a twisted world where most produce are available year-round does not mean that we should be eating them. Often, you’d be better served with fresh food you have frozen, or preserved at home without chemical additives. An entire winter without fresh food sounds rough, but a life filled with pastiche peas and travesties of tomatoes is insufferable.
Featured Photo courtesy of Kevin Krejci.