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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA



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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Veggie Tales

Before the fun starts here, be warned that there’s fresh baseball fun over at Bugs & Cranks:

‘Battle’ on the Braves’ Bench — When there’s no Spring Training drama, we’ll make up Spring Training drama.

And now back to our irregular programming.


My wife had a fantastic idea a few weeks ago. Our schedules are pretty busy, which sometimes means we don’t make it to the grocery store. Or we eat a lousy dinner. Or none at all. When they showed us that Food Pyramid back in school, they never told us how much stupid time it took. If good nutrition isn’t easy, then what the hell’s the point?

So the missus found this cool local service. Every two weeks, some guy dumps a box of fruits and vegetables on our porch. We don’t have to eat them, necessarily — but at least we have them. Baby steps is what we’re taking here.

“When they showed us that Food Pyramid back in school, they never told us how much stupid time it took. If good nutrition isn’t easy, then what the hell’s the point?”

On the other hand, it’s a shame to waste food, so we eat what we can — which is most of what they bring. And roughly seven thousand times the roughage we usually get. I’m spending half my waking life at home with some sort of greenery stuffed in my gob. And the other half in the john, pooping it back out. I assume bodies eventually get used to ingesting vitamins and fiber and the like. Until then, I’m getting an awful lot of reading done.

Meanwhile, I’m learning a lot about edible flora that I never knew or remotely cared about. You never know what’s going to be in the next green box by the door. Could be oranges, could be Brussels sprouts. Here are a few vegetatative adventures we’ve encountered so far:

Rutabagas: I never knew what a rutabaga was. I thought they only existed in joke punchlines and Cold War Eastern Europe. I wouldn’t have known a rutabaga if it hopped into my lap and sang Hello, Dolly.

Until last week, that is.

Turns out, rutabagas look a lot like turnips. And they smell a lot like turnips. And, not surprisingly, they taste a lot like turnips, too. I’m beginning to suspect there’s no such thing as rutabagas. There’s only turnips, and a huge conspiracy to call them ‘rutabagas’ when you want to convince people you’re not serving them turnips.

I know what you people are up to. You can’t fool me, turnip-pushers.

Avocados: I knew avocados were real. I just thought whoever picked them — or cut them, or dug them up, or hatched them — immediately squeezed them into guacamole. That’s the only way I’ve ever seen avocado; for all I knew, guacamole is a just a natural stage in the growth cycle of the modern free-range wild avocado.

Not so.

The thing these people are calling an ‘avocado’ didn’t come in a bowl, next to a tub of salsa and tequila shooters. It’s a big green warty looking thing. Like if Kermit the Frog had a goiter, that’s basically what it looks like. Only much bigger. And not nearly so cute.

It’s no prettier when you slice it open, either. At the very least, I thought there’d be guacamole inside the avocado. But no. There’s a big honking pit, surrounded by a bunch of solid green flesh that you have to mash into guacamole. How did anyone ever think of making something edible out of these godforsaken things, and why haven’t they gene-spliced together something requiring less manual labor by now? If we can put a man on the moon, we can damned sure breed a tree that shoots guacamole out the stems when you squeeze the trunk. We have the technology.

Meanwhile, with our ‘old style’ avocado, I got as far as cutting it into little pieces, mushing it until my hands hurt, giving up, and feeding it to the dog. Who also wouldn’t eat it, because apparently she’s a guacamole snob, too. And the mess I made was nothing like guacamole. It was diced frog goiter, at best. At least I still had the tequila. That’s made from veggies, too, right?

Kiwifruit: I have to say, I really like the taste of kiwi. My wife sliced up the first one, and the flavor was very nice. Sweet, berry-ish, tangy — I was genuinely impressed with a fruit that I hadn’t experienced often in the past, and never when fresh.

Then we ate all of the first kiwifruit, and it was time to cut my own. That’s where things went downhill in a hurry.

The problem with kiwifruit is the appearance. They’re small, not much bigger than a chicken egg. They’re ovalish. And — I don’t know how, them being fruit and all, but hand to god, it’s true — they’re hairy. And goiters are one thing. I’m even less inclined to peel and eat a scrotum. Or a fruit that looks like one.

Actually, I’m not sure ‘peeling’ is the advised next step. I’m sure as hell not going to bite into the thing as-is. And sticking a knife into it just seems… rude. So I stared at it, horrified, from across the room for a while. Then I gave up, draped a towel over it, and made myself some ice cream. There’s a time for good nutrition, and there’s a time to cut your losses and turn to Ben & Jerry. Guess we’ll just have to see what comes in the box next week.

Permalink  |  2 Comments



2 Responses to “Veggie Tales”

  1. Kerry says:

    wait till you get a papaya. they seem harmless enough until you cut them open and you see a pool of slimy, black spheres staring back at you. i’m not so sure they’re not some alien seed-pods. *shudders* good luck, man.

  2. Kerstin says:

    Good on ya. They can’t fool me with the turnip trick either!

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