battle 20–day 3–artichokes/part 2

My mom used to say when we were kids that on any given day she could usually count on one of us being bad and one of us being good. Rare were the days that my sister and I were both bad at the same time (and probably more rare were the days we were both good), but when the cosmos decided to gang up on my mom and those bad days came to pass, we could usually count on her coping by taking deep breaths and threatening us within an inch of our lives. Continue reading “battle 20–day 3–artichokes/part 2”

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battle 20–day 3–artichokes/part 1

Before we talk about the possible cataclysmic demise of this whole project over one really dumb vegetable, let’s spend some time cherishing one of my biggest wins and appreciating the ingenuity of one of my most awesome supporters. My third and final hit on my plea for y’all to spring me from my January blues came from Future New York Times Best Seller of the World’s Most Ridiculously Amazing Cookbooks Sarah F., who has been sending love and advice from afar since the project began and who really saved the day on artichokes. Continue reading “battle 20–day 3–artichokes/part 1”

battle 20, 22, 23–artichokes, parsnips, cabbage

The second friend to offer to hoist me out of the slump was my neighbor, Melissa R. It’s not unusual for Melissa to offer to cook for me under normal circumstances, but circumstances have changed in the last year and keeping me alive no longer tops her list of priorities. I suppose suggesting that I topped her list of priorities previously is a stretch, but now I’m really way down on the list. I’m like…third.

So here are the new circumstances: first, Melissa had a baby and the way that goes is he needs to be fed more often and my guess is more nutritiously than I do; and second, because my food preferences are changing, it’s not as easy to feed me as it used to be when her husband and I both refused all the same foods and she could make the same bland, colorless, tasteless meal for everyone.

But she perseveres.

So last week I was whining and complaining about all the terrible vegetables in January and how I really didn’t know if I could stomach them. Turnips. Bleck. Parsnips. Bleck. Even Melissa, who comes from farm people and will eat anything that grows out of the ground or off a tree or otherwise tastes like dirt, said the snips are good for nothing vegetables. But she was not about to let something as banal as cabbage get the best of me. (Cabbage, of course, is what I was the most afraid of. Gross. I hate the way it looks all slimy and translucent when it’s cooked. Like an onion. I seriously want to vomit right now just thinking of it.) We came up with this grand plan to knock out as many of January’s vegetables as possible the next day, then Melissa went grocery shopping and I took a nap.

Terrible Vegetable Smorgasbord Sunday included the following:

Trader Joe’s spinach artichoke dip—Heavenly. I ate so much of this I didn’t want to eat anything else, but in the spirit of TVSS, I eventually had to turn my attention to…

Mashed potatoes with parsnips—Less exciting, but not unmanageable. My beef with potatoes and parsnips is similar to kohlrabi trying to act like a potato, except this really is a potato…with parsnips. It was hard to evaluate the parsnips because of the awesomeness of the potatoes, except the potatoes were ever so slightly less awesome than usual, and obviously parsnips were the culprit. However, it didn’t make me want to cut my arm off or anything, so if faced with another mashed parsnip Christmas situation, I would probably be able to handle my shit.

Beef stew with cabbage (and no onions)—Surprisingly delicious (the cabbage, I mean…obviously Melissa’s stew was going to be good).  I got text updates all day on the progress of the cabbage stew, which Melissa thinks she burned at the last minute, but since we’re  a bunch of amateurs and we were preoccupied by rooting out slimy cabbage bits, we totally didn’t notice, and we ate it anyway, happily. Then we discovered, with lots of joy and exultation, that we like cabbage.

Terrible Vegetable Smorgasbord Sunday was like winter’s answer to summer’s fried food night. We accomplished a lot easily and deliciously with not a lot of effort. I still wasn’t done with artichokes (spinach artichoke dip seemed so good it felt like cheating, I needed to eat an artichoke) and I felt like I had one more cabbage demon to slay (cole slaw), but I went ahead and considered myself done with parsnips. Good enough.

battle 20–artichokes

This time I don’t have any good excuses. I’ve got nothing. Really. Nothing.

OK, I’ve got one thing. A girlfriend said to me yesterday that she’s in a “post-holiday can’t-get-all-my-balls-back-up-in-the-air funk,” which described precisely what’s happening with me right now. I’ve got a lot of balls. And since grocery shopping and cooking are still not automatic for me, it’s been a pain in the ass to work them back into my routine. Balls.

Obviously I didn’t intend to start the new year with such a lackluster performance. I actually jumped right into artichokes on artichoke Sunday when I was at the Midway Pub watching football. Midway serves artichokes fritters as an appetizer and I figured I could start the year off right with a big fried artichoke win. But they were boring. So boring they didn’t even warrant a full post. Super boring.

A few days later I gave artichokes another try with the artichoke cheese dip at Melton’s App and Tap (I frequent some fine eateries). Boring.

And there I was. New year. Shitty vegetable. Nothing to report (what was I going to say? I lost my first battle of the year? No way). So that was it, I came home day after day and didn’t cook, didn’t write, didn’t do shit.

Fortunately I have you friends to remind me so frequently what a slacker I am.

Finally I decided that since I let myself get so far behind that it would be fine to mix and match and combine and reorder and get crazy with January’s vegetables to catch up. New year. New rules.

Here’s what we’re up against in January (and honestly, why I’ve been reluctant to start the new year with typical New Year’s verve, I mean, come on, January): artichokes (those are technically left over from December, but I’m giving them one last chance), snow peas, rhubarb, rutabaga, cabbage and turnips.

Kill. Me. Now.