that one time i realized i needed to grow the fuck up

I hate vegetables. So I don’t eat them.

“You don’t eat vegetables?!” I guess it’s a natural question for grownups to ask another grownup. It’s the consternation and obsessive need for verification I don’t understand. “Brussels sprouts?” Come on. I mean, I hate vegetables, and you’re going with Brussels sprouts right out of the gate? No. I don’t eat goddamn Brussels sprouts. “Eggplant?” No. “Asparagus?” For blerg’s sake, no. “Mushrooms?” No. “Peas?” No. And on and on until someone finally lands on something like…corn. Yes, OK, fine. I eat corn.


I’m always surprised at how galvanizing my hatred of vegetables is. Friends, family, total strangers, new acquaintances, colleagues, whoever is standing in earshot learn this news and truly fear for my life. They rally around me and campaign for their favorite vegetables. “Julie, I really think if you just give artichokes a chance, you’ll see, you’re a fart sucking idiot.” Friends have suggested donating my (live) body to science to be studied for surviving on little more than meat and potatoes. People I meet in passing profess an exaggerated, undying love for vegetables, enumerating them one by one, pausing to ask again, “Are you sure you don’t like kale? It’s my favorite.” Still don’t. And every single one of them swears he or she will be the revolutionary who will change it all for me and that this will be the year I will learn to love Swiss chard (this will also be the year I learn Swiss chard is not cheese). People really love vegetables. And I find this shocking. Was I the only child in America hiding peas in my milk and feeding broccoli to the family dog? Hating vegetables is rooted in something, somewhere real. I know I’m not alone.


Then one day in the early summer of 2008 life as I knew it took a sharp right turn. I mean, utter upheaval. It happened at a dinner party hosted by grownups and attended by adults, so it was assumed, understood, a given that I would act right and polite and do my due dinner party diligence by not puking on their food. Until they served a caprese salad. A caprese salad, as you may or may not know, is a tomato. It also has some cheese and basil on it, but it’s basically a tomato. And tomatoes I do not eat. Because why? That’s right, it’s a vegetable. And you naysayers who want to call it a fruit can stuff it, because I don’t eat fruit either. Eight or so of us sat at the table; eight or so pieces of tomato and mozzarella rested beautifully on the platter. The man sitting to my right took his tomato and began to pass the platter in my direction, as if he expected me to take it from him and maybe take a tomato and maybe pass the platter to the woman on my left. I just stared. I thought of suddenly feigning illness and making a quick, sick-like getaway to avoid contact with the dreaded tomato and possibly achieving my goal of not puking on my friends’ dining table. Then I began to have psychotic fantasies of the tomato leaping off the platter and eating me, which is totally something a vegetable would do. During all this mind wandering, the man to my right had managed to maneuver the platter into my hands, and there we sat: the killer tomatoes and me. Finally I selected the “salad” with the smallest tomato and the biggest piece of cheese and settled in to meet my slow, miserable, painful death by tomato.

Caprese Salad

But holy for serious, I liked it.

And that was the day I became a bona fide grownup.

In the transition to my new world order, I realized these sad facts about my life, pre-grownup:

  1. My husband, who is an excellent and knowledgeable cook, had all but stopped eating vegetables because of me
  2. Because we could never agree on what to cook together at home, we had established a lifestyle of eating out almost all the time, which negatively affects both our waists and our wallets
  3. And because I never really needed to, I never learned to cook

So I decided to kill all these goddamn birds with one stone. I’m going to take on vegetables. It’s me…against them. If you’re the betting kind, bet on me. I’m the winning kind. I win shit.

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13 thoughts on “that one time i realized i needed to grow the fuck up

  1. Okay, first of all, I don’t eat vegetables either and didn’t you eat green beans growing up and don’t you eat salads? And how do you not have broccoli at the top of the list? Is it fair if you eat squash casserole, which is mostly cheese and Ritz crackers, and can’t even taste the squash? And a slice of tomato is not a salad, sheesh!!! Who made that up?

  2. Love it! And love caprese salads too. Butter makes all vegetables better, as does cheese… both a good way to ease into more healthy, less fat laden recipes 🙂

  3. Lemon juice and soy sauce. Not together. As separate condiments. Dipping, drenching. Steamed (or sauteed) asparagus dipped in soy is kinda great, if the asparagus is not steamed to limpness. Same for green beans. So, yeah, maybe there’s a lot of salt BUT you can cover up the taste of veggies you don’t like without dairy products or the Fry Daddy.

  4. Simplest asparagus thing ever, and totally up your alley. Steam the asparagus in red wine and butter. It’s fantastic!!

  5. Lauren passed on your mission to me, and I’m so impressed! I never ate veggies as a kid, and then married someone who loves them. I’ve learned that most vegetables require the aid of either some pork fat or cheese in order to be edible (what food can’t be improved upon by adding bacon, pancetta, parmesan and/or gruyere?). My best tip for brussel sprout week: blanche, then sautee with pancetta, brown sugar, and a little vinegar. Good luck!

    1. Pork fat, yes. Cheese, yes. I don’t know what it means to blanche something, but it sounds like something I’m going to like.

  6. OMG–the hell with the veggie applause–cheer for the writing. Julie, you are a great read!

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