I’ve been juicing baby bok choy thinking it was an exotic, German variation of kale.
[Insert nervous laugh here]
Though it’s an incredibly embarrassing blow to my ego (not only did I TELL others about my discovery, but I also BLOGGED about it), at least I was giving it a try. And that’s got to be worth something.
I’d like to blame my mother for raising me on the typical Midwest diet of ground beef and mac & cheese, with the rare roasteneer in summer; but when you approach 40, you really can’t blame your parents for stuff anymore. If I had spent less time during my young adulthood in the Buy-It-In-Frozen-Bulk-Store and more time learning about living, green things, I would have known the difference.
I do, however, have just cause to complain about babelfish, the online language translator. I’ve learned through embarrassing hands-on experience that kale is not baby bok choy–no matter what language you use.
I’ve also been buying something called ‘Wirsing’ thinking it was collards–and that issue remains unclear. Babelfish insists the plants are the same, but the pictures I found online bear little resemblance to each other.
So, until I can find a German who is fluent in American Southern cooking, I’ll have to keep juicing the dark, leafy greens, whether they are properly named or not.
I could just make up my own names, but that’s not helpful in the supermarket.
Despite the setbacks due to language barriers and my own organic ignorance, I do enjoy creating vegan menus for the family.
I used to think veggies came in three colors: white being the yummiest, especially when mashed with margarine and hormone-laden milk; yellow, a close second, also with butter-flavored plastic and heaps of salt; and green, which came from a can, had a grayish tint and were quietly scraped into the garbage after Mom left the table.
Salads in the Midwest would gloriously appear for holidays, picnics and family reunions. No matter which so-called fruit or vegetable was used as a base, salads always arrived encased in some type of alien substance, such as jello, marshmallows or ranch dressing.
With this rich heritage, you will now pardon my current nutritional ignorance.
This week, I was inspired to make artichokes for the first time.
Eschewing any help from my husband (who HAD been a cook in a previous life) and piecing together bits of information from a variety of questionable sources, I carved up the plants, drizzled them with lemon, and tossed them in a hot oven.
They came out looking like pinecones.
We painfully tried them–even forcing my poor children to take bites.
*Disclaimer: no children were harmed in the artichoke sampling
Before you rat me out to Child Protective Services, let me assure you, a kind Italian friend has promised to provide artichoke counseling and special education for my remedial cooking skills.
I will conquer artichokes eventually.
And that is this week’s lesson.
No matter how you were raised, it’s never too late to learn (usually the hard way for me) how to cook and enjoy food that will nourish you, rather than kill you.
While the artichokes bombed in a big way, the quinoa stuffed peppers were fantastic. Even the youngest of my household skeptics cleaned their plates, as the saying goes, and not into the bio bin (I didn’t leave the table until they finished).
Though I may have inadvertently ruined their concepts of ‘artichoke’ forever, my hope is that my children will have broader views of cuisine and more nutritional knowledge than I ever did.
Sometimes you do actually win.