". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


My friend Susan recently wrote about vegetables, citing a source that states that most Americans limit themselves to only about twelve different kinds. She and her daughter made a game of coming up with a list of what those might be as well as of all the options too many people neglect. So I decided to follow suit and take stock of our vegetable intake. Which ones do we eat and not eat? Of those we don't eat, what might I try to include in our diet more often?

What we eat a lot or fairly often

Green beans
Collard greens
Lettuce - iceberg, romaine, red-leaf
Tomatoes (I know they're not technically vegetables, but I'm including them anyway)
Sugar snap peas

What we eat sometimes or rarely

Sweet potatoes
Zucchini squash
Corn (only the kids and I--my husband can't digest it)
Lima beans (husband loves them but the rest of us don't share his enthusiasm)
White potatoes (Husband is a low-carb eater, so I don't make them very much)
Cucumber (only my daughter and I like them)
Butternut squash
Snow peas
Mushrooms (are these considered to be vegetables?)

What we don't eat but should

Okra--I am a Southern-born girl who grew up eating okra. I'm not sure why I don't ever cook it because I do like it!

What we don't eat but ought to try


What we don't eat and probably never will

Yellow squash--I just like zucchini so much more
Brussel sprouts--I don't have a clear memory of ever eating them, but for some reason I have a very bad feeling about them

What I have gleaned from this exercise is that there are certain things I don't make very often because a few people in the family don't like or eat them, and that ends up limiting the scope of our diet. I think I really need to start making some of those less popular items in smaller quantities. Just because a few people don't like them doesn't mean the others shouldn't enjoy them! It does mean a bit more work and dishes to clean. But I think the result would be worth it.


Presbytera said...

You might try serving those vegetables that someone doesn't like as a second vegetable at a meal. That way the other members of your family would have the opportunity to eat and enjoy them. That would work for brussel sprouts too. BS, he-he, are one of my favorite veggies. 3/4's of my family love them.

Marie N. said...

Oh! You've reminded me that I wanted to write about this. I think it is harder this year since we've only lettuce in our garden this summer, but I'm curious about our variety.

elephantschild said...

We like BS here too. Sparkle has usually ignored them but the last time we served them, she showed interest. We told her they were like baby cabbages (same family of veggies) and she ate a couple.

I'd like to try turnips. I like veggies that keep well in my fridge!

Susan said...

Why you don't make okra more often? Because it's not so easy to find in grocery stores up here in the North. And because it's usually more expensive than things like corn and peas.

I agree with what Barb said about multiple veggies at a meal. With our CSA this year, most of the veggies don't come in a quantity sufficient to serve as THE veggie at any meal. Like, there's only about a quart of fresh broccoli, or 5 beets, or 4 zucchini. Usually dinner is three things here: entree, side dish, and vegetable. But if I make a lettuce salad and a vegetable, or a stir-fry alongside a steamed vegetable, dinner just seems so much more like a sit-down meal. There's something mentally satisfying about that extra dish or two on the table. Annnd people get more variety in their diets, and fill their tummies better. So it's pretty nice to have that extra small dish of a less-familiar veggie.

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

I LOVE Brussels Sprouts...if they are served right.

When I was low-carbing, I used turnips as a potato substitute. I could mash them, and they were alright with enough salt or with chicken broth as the main liquid. I REALLY loved either boiling them in chicken broth or combining them with onion and green peppers to make O'Brian "potatoes. I also used them as a "cracker" with a bit of chicken salad on top. Later, Atkins changed his tune about allowing root veggies, but they still were great (I still lost weight, so oh well). They are also wonderful roasted with carrots, celery, onion, and anything else you want to coat with oil and put in the roaster or under a chicken or roast in the oven. MMM...I'm getting hungry (and excited. I pulled my first turnip out of the ground today. And the greens look really tempting, too. Guess I'm going to have to learn to fix those. Usually, the bugs eat the greens before I get to them).

Typing about using it as a cracker reminded me of something else to try...jicama. It is AWESOME in a salad, green or in a chicken, potato, salad, etc. for some extra crunch. Or as a "cracker."

Cauliflower, butternut squash (and I just learned on Food Network that you don't even have to skin them...the skin is thin enough to just cook. I usually took a carrot peeler to it), and beets can all be roasted with a dash of oil and some salt and are incredible that way.

I often just mix a whole bunch of veggies together and roast them. It works well, and I can buy fewer quantities.

Cheryl said...

After reading all these pro-brussel sprouts comments I was almost ready to go home and try some. Then I picked my husband up at the Benedictine monastery where he stayed four nights while serving as musician for a Lutheran pastors' retreat, and after raving about the monks' food overall, he ended by saying "But the brussel sprouts were awful." So I guess I'm back to brussel sprout paranoia.

Lora, I love butternut squash and beets just the way you describe--we coat them with olive oil, sprinkle with rosemary, and roast in the oven. But I didn't know you could leave the skin on the squash. Thanks for the tip! The one thing I don't like about butternut squash is the preparation. All those seeds and pulp--it's like doing the pumpkin at Halloween. And they are so hard to peel and chop.

Looking over my list, I realize I forgot celery. That should go on the "sometimes" column. Only dd and I like it. And I also left off rutabagas. But honestly, I don't even know what a rutabaga is. Anyone care to enlighten me?