It's not that I hate
meat - It's just that I really love vegetables... *now* First, a clarification. I am NOT a vegetarian, as you can see from how ravenously I consume whole turkey legs. But I know a lot of vegetarians, and most of them aren't that into vegetables – they're more like pastatarians or in my brother's case, a twinkieterian. So I now consider myself a vegetable-tarian – but I wasn't always. I could talk about meat all day, but despite thousands of years of evolution enabling us to be omnivores, that would be controversial. So instead I’m going to talk vegetables, and if you want to talk meat after the talk, I’ll be the one in the back licking bacon grease off my fingers. HOW I BECAME A BORN AGAIN VEGETABLE-TARIAN
One year ago... One year
ago, I basically had no vegetables in my life - I could count on one hand the vegetables that I actually ate - lettuce, tomatoes, green pepper, carrots. The sad thing is that as a kid, we had multiple gardens in our yard, but I assumed they were mostly for decoration and to feed the local deer population.
...see the similarities? I thought
most vegetables were gross - I compared broccoli to lung alveoli and questioned why anyone would eat lungs, and thought mushrooms were slimy foul creatures. And no, I'd never bothered to actually taste them and confirm any of those suspicions.
I was eating too much:
...and not enough: But then I found out I was overweight, and realized that I needed to start eating less bad carbs like bread and pasta and more good carbs – vegetables. So I forced myself to eat things that for 25 years I considered inedible, and I discovered they're awesome. Now I want to share some of my favorites and tips with you.
Fruit (science): the ovary of
a flowering plant Fruit (culinary): any edible part of a plant with a sweet flavor Vegetable: any edible part of a plant with a savory flavor. We're geeks here, so we have to get this question out of the way: What’s the difference between fruits and vegetables? Fruit is actually a scientific term which means something that develops from the ovary of a plant...mmm ovaries. But screw science. In the real world, we generally use fruit to mean the sweet part of a plant, and vegetable to mean the savory part.
Veggie! Fruit! Lunch! The real
world varies per country though, so Brazilians consider avocado to be a fruit because they use it in their desserts and shakes, while Americans think of it as a vegetable because we use it in salads and dips. I just think of it as awesome.
tomato: the Bill Clinton of
the vegetable world. Many of you are probably thinking: Well, what about tomato, aye? Don’t worry, the supreme court settled that one for us. In the 1893 case of Nix vs Hedden, they ruled the tomato to legally be a vegetable while acknowledging that it is botanically a fruit. So, they kind of settled it.
The Vast Vegetable-verse Today I
want to talk about really vegetable-y vegetables, not borderline shit. A vegetable is any savory edible part of the plant and that includes flower buds, seeds, leaves, leaf sheaths, buds, stems, leaf stems, stem shoots, tubers, sprouts, roots, bulbs, and the “fruits”. Not that I know what any of that means. flower buds seeds flower buds leaves leaf sheaths buds stems leaf stems stem shoots sprouts bulbs roots
DON'T BE AFRAID. ...IT'S JUST
CELERY ROOT. Let’s start with an ugly but a goodie: celery root. It’s from a species of celery grown for its bulb instead of for its left stems, and it is probably the scariest looking vegetable I’ve ever seen. If they were going to make a horror movie about vegetables, this would be the veggie hiding in the closet, scaring small children at night. But here’s the thing: IT IS SO TASTY.
HASH BROWNS SOUP GRATIN SLAW
Once you manage to chop off its hairy mutated limbs, you can use the flesh wherever you’d use potato, like for a creamy soup or my favorite, celery root hash browns. And then you’ll find it hard to ever look a potato in the eye (or eyes) again, knowing about its much tastier alternative.
Speaking of root vegetables, another
favorite of mine is Spaghetti squash. Once you bake it and start scraping the inside with a fork, it comes off in spaghetti strands and goes great with marinaras or pestos..pretty much everything that spaghetti goes well with. It almost makes me believe in intelligent design. PESTO MARINARA GRATIN
LIFTING A 16 KG KETTLEBELL
CHOPPING A 3 LB SQUASH VS. NO CONTEST. Another reason I love root vegetables is that it’s quite the workout to peel them and chop them up. You see these massive muscles? You might think they’re from the olympic weightlifting I do at CrossFit every morning - but nope, it’s from all the vegetable chopping I do at night.
Another versatile veggie is the
cauliflower. When I first saw it, I thought it was just an albino broccoli, nothing too impressive. But then I discovered you can use cauliflower as the ultimate substitute: I eat mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes, I make pizza crust with cauliflower instead of flower, and I make sushi with shredded cauliflower. PIZZA SUSHI MASH
And if that still doesn’t
impress you, let me show you a cauliflower variant that would warm any cold geek’s heart: the romanesco broccoli. The bud has a self-similar character with the meristems forming a logarithmic spiral - or in other terms, it’s a natural (approximate) fractal.
Before you go thinking I’m
just a die-hard vegevangelist that can say no wrong about veggies, well, let me warn you about a few of them. Beets are a very red root veggie which can add some color to your meal, but unfortunately for 10% of the population who suffer from Beeturia, they can also add some color to your bowel movements. You can guess which color. :) Does this red root leave you with a red surprise?
And speaking of bowel movements...
another veggie to watch out for is Asparagus. It’s often called an aphrodisiac, probably because it looks like a green penis, but it also makes us produce a foul-smelling urine that only 25% of us can smell. So assuming you haven’t done a 23andme analysis of your date to see if they have the smelling gene, you might want to stay away from the asparagus. SEXY... ...OR SMELLY?
Now here's a condition that
you could consider a bug or a feature – carotenosis – the orange coloration of skin after overconsumption of carrots. It's not an issue for most adults, but some babies apparently get fed too much orange mush, and some supermodels too. But that's enough of vegetable alarmism! TOO MUCH OF A GOOD/ORANGE THING?
So, how do you get
good fresh local veggies? One way is to grow them yourself – in a backyard garden if you have it, in a community garden patch, or even indoors – like many San Fran hippies do with certain veggies. We like to keep a mushroom log under our bed. :) UBER-LOCAL BACKYARD GARDEN COMMUNITY GARDEN MUSHROOM LOG MUSHROOM LOG INDOOR GARDEN
My personal favorite way is
to subscribe to a CSA, community supported agriculture, a local farm which delivers fresh veggies every week. I love it because it forces me to eat what’s in season (a somewhat foreign concept to us import-happy Americans) and it surprises me each week with new veggies I’d never heard of before. LOCAL ENOUGH – AND EXPERT-GROWN http://localharvest.org LOCAL ENOUGH – AND EXPERT-GROWN
So listen, if you haven’t
yet accepted vegetables into your life: look deep into your stomach and do it now. Then try a new veggie each week: find out what’s in season, google it, learn what it will do to your bathroom and bedroom life, and then forget all that and enjoy it’s tasty goodness.
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