Picky Eating With Pookie, Vol. 2: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

It’s been a while since the first installment of Picky Eating With Pookie, but don’t worry, Gentle Reader, I haven’t been completely neglecting my taste testing duties. I have a few things to report on the Picky Eating front.

The Good: Baby Chard

When the baby chard came home from the farm I thought, “Oh no. Cooked greens.” Chard has always seemed like an especially nasty member of the cooked green family. The leaves look big and tough, and the name “chard” sounds like it should be scraped off the walls of the fireplace. Not cool. But Schnookie found a deceptive way to serve it: in pasta with scape pesto with grape tomatoes. It’s like she knows all my weaknesses! Even more than that, though, she only made enough chard for her bowl, serving me a chardless dish. Because I don’t take my Picky Eating duties lightly, I made sure to ask for a bite of hers, fully preparing to gack it down and then relievedly go back to my less green, more pasta-colored bowl. The problem was, it was tasty. The flavor wasn’t the mineral-y spinach flavor I was expecting. Instead it just tasted… Well, for lack of a better description, it tasted like it was good for me. In a good way. It tasted like my liver was saying, “Ahhhh… Something besides beer, cheese, and pizza grease!” Suddenly my less green, more pasta-colored bowl looked depressingly dour. Fortunately, the farm has a lot of baby chard to go around, so this dish was served up several more times. I won’t lie and say I ate every bit of chard on my plate, but I’d still give it four stars out of five*.

*(I don’t doubt that the powerful scape pesto contributed a great deal to my liking the baby chard. Between the toothy noodles and the grape tomatoes, the chard was never the dominate element of any single bite of dinner.)

The Bad: Beets

OK, that “The Bad” is a little misleading — I didn’t actually try these beets. I hear they’re excellent, but here’s the deal: beets scare me. They’re so meaty looking. They look like they taste dark, and thick, and heavy. I’ve also tried a few the last few years and they’ve always tasted like dark, thick, heavy steam no matter how they’re cooked. My freshman year roommate at NYU used to steam broccoli all the time and I grew to really dislike the smell of steamed veggies. Beets look like they taste like someone injecting the smell of steamed veggies directly into my brain. For this reason I’m holding out on the beets until there are some from our garden. The first year of the garden we grew Chioggia beets. The red-and-white spiral bull’s-eye beets don’t look dark, thick, and heavy. They look like candy! I would say this is a violation of the Picky Eating With Pookie rules, but I make the rules so no Farm beets! (I should also point out that Beet Night is Wednesday when I’m at work. Schnookie cooks up some beets to snack on while I slave away at the library. So even if I wanted them I’m out of luck. Because Schnookie could never prepare them on another night, shut up!)

The Ugly: Corn

For a Jersey girl, I’m pretty conflicted when it comes to corn. I’m a big fan of it when it’s a supporting member of the cast, like if it’s in a black bean/red onion/corn salsa, or if it’s in a hearty soup or chili. But thanks to hating shucking it as a child (I’m a wimp and hated pulling off the husks and finding big mealy worm things) and thanks to not liking how messy corn on the cob is, I’ve never been a big fan of corn on its own. Even when we grew it in the garden and could eat fresh corn literally five minutes after it was picked, I was still a little underwhelmed. Boiled corn has, in the past, tasted a little too mushy, a little too wet, a little too dull for me.

This has been a-okay with the other members of the house. For all that Boomer and Schnookie try to encourage me on the picky eating front, the one thing they leave suspiciously alone is my disinterest in corn. This is the time of year when Schnookie will stop on her way home from work and pick up a few ears to be served cut off the cob and slathered with butter as a side dish to whatever’s for dinner. I’ve been content to let Boomer and Schnookie split the corn haul in half, much to their delight. Boomer, in particular, loves her some corn. If you look outside when she’s taking the cobs to the compost, you’ll see her gnawing on them to get every last bit of corny goodness out of them.

Thursday night, though, I decided I should try the corn again, my annual summer admittance that I live in Jersey and should therefore eat corn. I was stunned to discover that it wasn’t the dull flavor I remembered. This corn was bright and sunny and buttery and delicious. It wasn’t too mushy, but it also wasn’t the tough on-the-cob stuff I remembered getting stuck in my teeth when I was little. It was deeeelicious, five stars out of five! Boomer and Schnookie? Were not pleased to have to share with me last night. If my corn renaissance continues, things could get ugly.

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21 Comments

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21 responses to “Picky Eating With Pookie, Vol. 2: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

  1. I’m so happy to hear you’ve come around on corn! Although I love beets, your REFUSAL of beets is well reasoned and I can accept it….REFUSING corn though? I dunno. I try to respect everyone’s REFUSALS because REFUSING is sacred, but I might have had to REFUSE your REFUSAL and then done the WORST possible thing which is to INSIST that you stop REFUSING by arguing in favor of my beloved corn.

    Thank God it didn’t come to that. There’s no way that would’ve ended well.

  2. Katebits, I’ve been pushed on more than one occasion to INSIST that Pookie stop REFUSING a variety of vegetables, and it always ends badly. I’m so glad she didn’t push you to that with the corn. It’s such an ugly scene.

  3. I would only have had to REFUSE your REFUSING to accept my REFUSING and in the process I would have REFUSED corn with the power of a thousand REFUSING suns!

    The thing with corn is that I go back and forth on it from year to year, just like I do with candy corn. You know, I think I’m seeing a pattern now that I’m thinking about it. With every year that I like candy corn less, I like veggie corn more… I’m thinking this might be a bad year for candy corn!

  4. I don’t know how I feel about beets. I mean, I will eat them, but I don’t know if I would ever choose to eat them if they weren’t put in front of me. Sometimes I just have to draw the line. Like when I was at a wedding in May and the appetizer was a giant STACK of alternating red beet rounds and yellow beet rounds, topped off with fresh mozzarella. Beets and mozzarella? Probably. Maybe. But yellow beets? They look like … something that’s not beets, but they taste like beets. It was just a little too weird.

    As for corn, it’s awesome that you might maybe for now like it! Even though I am always reminded of the cartoon character typewriter method of eating corn on the cob, it is one of my favorite things.

  5. OK, beets are scary enough as it is – but masquerade-beets pretending to be something else?! That’s my worst nightmare! Beets could disguise themselves as… as… my birthday cake!!! I may never eat food again.

    I remember attempting the typewriter method when I was little. It was not a pretty scene.

  6. Meg

    I love corn and of all the things I miss due to living in a city (my dishwasher, having a washing machine right there, etc.), easily getting super-fresh corn is the thing I miss the most. I don’t love it in things (the texture usually bothers me) and I don’t love it off the cob, but corn on the cob is a beautiful, beautiful thing in my world. I’m so glad you’re having a corn renaissance!

  7. You know, the candy-striped chioggias aren’t the only beets we’re growing right now. We’ve got yellow ones in the garden as we speak! Pookie’s going to have to try them, so it’s probably best not to build them up as too much of a villain in her mind yet. :P

    (And really, beets and mozzarella? I love both of those things, but have never really considered them together…)

  8. *runs out to pull all the golden beet seedlings out of the ground*

    Oh noes! The hailstorm targeted only the golden beets! What a shame!

    Meg, I’m sorry you can’t get fresh corn. You’ll need to build a little garden on the roof of your building!

  9. Fresh corn from the garden is the best summer pleasure I can think of! I may have already told this story so here is the short version. My brother-in-law made my husband (then boyfriend) declare his intentions for me before he would let Hub have any of the corn from my dad’s garden. Frightened the heck out of Hub! :)

  10. I don’t think that’s at all unreasonable of your brother-in-law. Garden-fresh corn is not to be shared with just anybody!

  11. That’s so awesome, Myra!

  12. Oh, god, beets make me recoil in terror.

    Corn, though? Delicious! I’m so glad you’re on board with liking corn now, Pookie!!

    I haven’t had chard in forever. I can’t even remember what it tastes like.

  13. Amy

    I’ve never had beets, but I’ve heard all the Food Network horror stories about them staining hands, clothes, and counters if not handled properly. The potential for mess has turned me off of them.

    And fresh corn is one of the great things about summer. Just please don’t make like Sandra Lee and baste the corn in a mayo and four cheese powder spread, wrap in bacon and grill. That’s one way to ruin a perfectly good veggie.

  14. We were just laughing about that corn treatment this weekend, Amy! Sandra’s really talented, isn’t she? I mean, to find such digstusting was to ruin good food? That’s a talent.

  15. Beets aren’t THAT messy! I mean, yes, they’ll stain your clothes, but if you clean up quickly, they’re not going to permanently disfigure your kitchen! Food Network is giving them a bad rap! :P

    Dude, those bacon-wrapped corn things of Sandra’s are just AWFUL. I love that she considers that a healthful vegetable treatment. Over the weekend I made a watermelon cocktail that was very Sandra-ish just with how much rum and vodka went into it. I used frozen watermelon as ice cubes, and then when finished with the drink, there were nice soaked watermelon pieces for the eating. Pookie said, in her best Sandra voice, “This is such a great way to get watermelon into the kiddies.” Heh.

  16. Just please don’t make like Sandra Lee and baste the corn in a mayo and four cheese powder spread, wrap in bacon and grill.

    Oh my! Words escape me. That is just scary.

    Pookie, I’m so glad you have found some winners in your taste testing.

    My mom used to make something she called Harvard Beets. They were sweet and sour with tons of sugar and vinegar. I don’t think you could actually taste the beets! :P

  17. I LOVE beets, chard and corn. I just bought all three at the farmers market. I love nothing more than beets roasted with EVOO, balsamic vinegar and garlic (or scapes). Yum!

  18. Hm… That almost makes beets sound tasty…

  19. Beets are great roasted with olive oil, sea salt, fresh ground black pepper and feta cheese, too. Mmmmmmm… I LOVE beets!

  20. Douglas

    Not to worry, Pookie. I’m from New Jersey, too, and we can take or leave corn. I’ll usually have one ear, but that’s it, and for me, it’s never the centerpiece of the meal. We don’t like picking it out of our teeth, either. We say, go ahead, fill up your gas tank with it. ;-)

  21. Thanks for backing me up, Douglas!

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