Fruits and Vegetables -- 11/07/04

A quiet Saturday followed by a quiet Sunday... and this week's Sunday Brunch questions caught my eye...
about fruits and vegetables. So, by way of pictorial preface to the questions, after getting the e-mail telling me what this week's questions would be, I took my camera outside to take pictures in my garden.

Yes, of course the growing season is over, but there are still two crops out there -- the carrots that Jill planted and my parsley.
Jill's carrots My parsley

1) What is your favorite vegetable and your favorite fruit?
I can't exactly answer either part of this question because I could never narrow it down to a single favorite vegetable and a single favorite fruit.

I couldn't even settle on a favorite way to cook them and eat them. Hmm, or not cook them. I love raw vegetables -- well, yeah, of course in salads -- but just grabbing a carrot or a stalk of celery and munching... or a broccoli floret or a slice of a pepper or a green bean or... And I don't need to have any dip to scoop up with my veggies (although it can be tasty to eat them that way). Cooked vegetables? Okay, yum... steamed broccoli... or cauliflower or asparagus. Or grilled. Or roasted. Or in a soup or a stew.

A favorite fruit? I couldn't even select a favorite color for fruit -- blue, red, black, yellow, orange, green, purple... Berries: blueberries, strawberries, black raspberries, cranberries.... Apples: granny smith, macintosh, empire, melrose, macouns, red delicious, crispin, cortand, yellow delicious.... Pears: bosc, anjou, bartlet... And there are all the various grapes and peaches and plums and cherries and bananas and papayas and mangos and...

2) How many servings of fruits and vegetables do you eat a day?
Usually, I surpass the "strive for five" target. I probably eat between four and eight servings a day. I eat cereal most mornings and I like to have fresh fruit in it (blueberries or strawberries or sliced banana or sliced peach) or at least add a "serving" worth of dried fruit (like raisins and/or dried cranberries). I'd also have a glass of juice (usually orange or grapefruit or pineapple). I'd try to get another serving or two for lunch -- maybe a salad or some carrots and celery or some fresh fruit (like an apple or a pear). Vegetables are a major part of most meals in our house. It would be extremely rare for me to serve a dinner that didn't have the equivalent of at least two servings and, more typically, three or four.

3) Did your parents force you to eat vegetables when you were younger?
I can recall at least one incidence of sitting and sitting, staring at the uneaten food on my plate, stubbornly not eating... and I suppose I heard about those poor starving children in Europe (although I couldn't understand how me finishing my peas would help them in anyway). Peas. Yeah, when I was a kid I loved carrots and broccoli and asparagus and corn, etc., but for some reason I had decided that I didn't like peas. That lasted for several years, until I decided that I did like them. (I also thought that I didn't like tomato sauce on pasta, until I realized that it was really good and couldn't understand why I had thought I didn't like it.) For the most part, however, my brother and I both scarfed down everything in front of us.

4) What vegetable can you absolutely just not get down, no matter what you are bribed with?
That's a tough question. All I can think of is rhubarb... for some reason I never developed a taste for it... but I don't think it would be impossible for me to eat it. Maybe okra?

5) What is your favorite way to eat fruit?
All I can think of is "with my mouth." If I can't settle on just one favorite fruit, how could I name a favorite way to eat fruit. I love fresh berries, I mean really fresh, ones I've just picked, fresh as the dew. I love apples (especially granny smith, macintosh, empire, and melrose). I like peaches and nectarines before they are fully ripe, when they are still rather hard. I like fruit pies: mmmm, apple pie and blueberry pie and pumpkin pie. And jams and jellies and preserves! The quince may be a bit too hard for eating out of your hand, but boy it makes a delicious jelly.

I went grocery shopping late this afternoon. Here are the fruits and vegetables I brought home.
Potatoes, bananas, iceberg lettuce, winter squash, granny smith apples, yellow cooking onions, red seedless grapes, macintosh apples, a cucumber, spinach, carrots, red leaf lettuce, celery, summer squash, zucchini, red onion, red cabbage, green pepper, green beans, tomato.

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