Picky Eating With Pookie: Oh Snap!

This summer I’m proud to present an IPB Living exclusive presentation of Picky Eating With Pookie. You see, Gentle Reader, I am a picky eater. For all this talk of veggie gardening and CSA farms, I have long maintained that I don’t really like most vegetables. Tomatoes, potatoes, and onions never really counted as vegetables to me, so they’ve always been on the a-okay list. Lettuce was iffy for a while, but with enough croûtons and dressing it could be made palatable. Thanks to a summer spent in Santa Fe, I discovered beans and peppers should be considered candy, not veggies. Everything else? Nasty. Nasty, nasty, nasty. I pick the peas out of every pot pie Schnookie makes; I carefully eat around the carrots in soups; I refuse to even go near any dish containing sweet potatoes; I break out in hives when confronted with cooked greens.

A very strange thing happened, though, when I started going stir-crazy for the garden and farm this early-Spring. I started to think about how great a carrot grown from the garden would taste. Now, I’ve never been good at verbalizing what exactly is wrong with the veggies I don’t like, so when called on why I don’t like peas or carrots, I’m usually left spluttering, “Just ‘cuz, okay! Get off my back about the peas and carrots!” So when I started salivating over this mythical carrot, I realized that I could sort of remember what carrots taste like and nowhere in that taste memory was an element I could put my finger on hating. It occurred to me that my inability to explain why I hate vegetables might work in my favor. Maybe my vegetable cortex, or whatever part of the brain determines which nutritious foods I’ll like, is a blank slate. Maybe I could start from scratch. Maybe I could try one of every vegetable that comes from the garden or the farm! Maybe I’d learn to love the foods that are good for me!

Picky Eating With Pookie will document this ambitious re-learning of vegetables. I don’t have high hopes. I suspect I’ll still dislike beets and string beans as much in September as I do now, but dagnabbit, I’m going to give it an honest effort! I will give each and every vegetable a fair shake — with two exceptions. Cooked spinach ain’t happening. Raw baby spinach? Awesome. Cooked, wilted, mineral-y, limp, chewy, stringy spinach will never taste good to me, even if you lobotomized my vegetable cortex. Also, I hate cooked peas. I can verbalize that I dislike their tinny, slimy, smelly, noxious little pea-ish selves. No cooked peas.

Because cooked peas are so vile, I was a little wary of the first Picky-Eating-eligible crop of the season:

Snap Peas.

Snap Peas.

Sounds pea-ish.

As I stared down the barrel of the snap pea, I thought back to earlier this Spring when I daringly tried edamame from the local sushi place, and asparagus from the local farm stand. Both were surprisingly delicious. “Maybe,” I thought, “I’m on a roll!” I reached out for the snap pea Schnookie had picked especially for me. As my shaking fingers closed around it I thought, “Or maybe it’ll taste like a pea! Peas are the devil’s food!” Still, I had made a promise to myself and I wasn’t going to give up before I got started (good thing the first farm crop this year wasn’t cooked spinach). So I ate it.

The taste sensation of eating a just-picked snap pea starts with a very satisfying crisp crunch that led directly into a burst of bright, fresh liquidness. It tasted, well, like a crisp, bright, fresh Summer day. However, if then transitioned into a slightly stringy toothiness that was tinged with more than a little pea-flavor. The aftertaste was just enough eau du pea that I hesitated before taking a second helping. But take a second helping I did. I’m hoping that I can convince myself that the pea aftertaste is the essence of shelling pea pods, which for some strange reason is a chore I think (in concept) I’d enjoy in a down-home, newer-better-life-as-a-gardener way.

I stopped after two pods, but the verdict on snap peas is 3 1/2 stars out of 5. I don’t think I’ll go out of my way to eat a big bowl of them, but should they appear in a dish on my plate, I’d probably eat several. And for a picky eater, sometimes that’s all you can ask. Tune in as the season progresses, as I tackle such vegetables as carrots, beets, string beans, and more!

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22 Comments

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22 responses to “Picky Eating With Pookie: Oh Snap!

  1. HG

    I am very excited about this new installment! I’m sure that it will be hilarious. I vote that you try jicama. Only because it’s a funny word. Heeeeeeekaaamaaaa….

  2. Actually, I bet I would sort of like jicama. Doesn’t it go in Southwestern cooking? That’s pretty much my favorite cuisine. If you put some jicama in a salsa, I’d probably never even notice. Heh.

    I did try a third snap pea and the flavor was excellent. I was actually driven to eating the third one because I smelt the one Schnookie snapped open and the smell was intoxicating. However, I realized what I don’t like about them — they take too long to chew. Long after the flavor is gone, you’re still chewing snap pea cud. Not cool.

  3. HG

    When I eat jicama, it’s usually when I’m having hot wings and it serves as a first aid application so I don’t notice. Hee hee… but it’s quite light and watery when raw and it’s crunchy!

    I have issues with pea string too so now I take the time to cut off the ends and de-string them making the amount of cud seem less.

  4. Liz

    Three words…..snap pea spittoon. That way you can get the crunchy summery goodness of the snap pea but disgorge all of the nasty fiber. And you can throw it in the compost!

  5. Oh, thank you, Wise One, for telling me the secret to cudless peas! I totally have to try this out! Light, watery, and crunchy? Jicama sounds delightful! I’ll have to try it sometime. And if it’s gross, I know who to blame. Heh heh heh.

  6. Dude, Liz! You’re a GENIUS! A snap pea spittoon! Why didn’t I think of that?!

  7. Sarah

    Pookie, peas are like raisins. They belong in everything. EVERYTHING. Good for you for trying it! Also, you don’t like veggies? Not even dressing a big hunk of beef? Not even then?

  8. Also, you don’t like veggies? Not even dressing a big hunk of beef? Not even then?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!! (And should we be worried that you’re going to start putting peas in your chocolate chip cookies?)

  9. Sarah, too funny!

    Also, peas are like raisins — they never should have been invented! I’m never going to eat a chocolate chip cookie you’ve baked because now I’m going to worry that you’ve put peas in them. Were there peas in those brownies you made for domino night? Hm? Were there?! *shifty eyes*

  10. Jicama, for the record, is delicious and amazing. I could eat it as a snack all day long!

    Also, there are some veggies I just won’t eat and can’t eat. Anything pepper related that’s not a green bell pepper? I won’t touch it. Beets? No thank you. Carrots, now I like them – just not cooked.

    Do not get me started on any variation of cabbage — especially sauerkraut. Disgusting.

  11. I’ll admit, I’m scared of beets. I think they might be the veggie I’m most dreading in this project.

  12. Sarah

    p.s. pookie — I put raisins in my lovely farm salads. And in the broccoli salad I made. Heavenly! For beets the thing that got me to enjoy them was to wrap them in tinfoil and roast them. It doesn’t hurt to eat a little goat cheese with them either!

  13. There are times when I feel like beets alone are nature’s candy, but there are also times when I see them as little more than a vessel for goat cheese or feta. I think I’ll try to do some cheesy presentations of them for the Picky Eating With Pookie series.

  14. I’ll admit, I’m scared of beets. I think they might be the veggie I’m most dreading in this project.

    I wouldn’t be afraid of them! I’m horrifically picky myself, and I’m just a stick in the mud when it comes to trying things over again. It’s been years since I’ve had a beet but that initial first taste has made me run away ever since then.

  15. I don’t trust beets. I can’t tell what they taste like from looking at them and smelling them. They’re hiding something and I don’t like it. But, I’ll be much more willing to try them if they have cheese attached.

  16. Beets are hiding their DELICIOUSNESS!

    Caitlin, for some reason I missed your comment about peppers. You won’t eat anything pepper-related that isn’t a green bell pepper? Not even in a red bell pepper? :P

  17. Not even in a red bell pepper? :P

    I won’t touch a red bell pepper! And god forbid that you give me anything spicy! I will run away from it…quickly.

    Green bell pepper is okay. Everything else = yucky.

    I don’t trust beets. I can’t tell what they taste like from looking at them and smelling them.

    This is so true! It’s like they’re the sneaky spies of the vegetable world!

  18. Caitlin, you and Boomer are like peas in a pod. She is so averse to spicy foods that she was long convinced bell peppers were spicy. While we have successfully debunked that, she still has some residual distrust of them.

    And you should like beets, what with your love of all things Russian! :P

  19. And you should like beets, what with your love of all things Russian! :P

    I should also like mayonnaise too ( I hear the Russians drown things in mayo) but I can’t stand it, either. (What I would do if I were served borscht with my no-beets policy, I don’t know.)

    God help me if I ever go to Russia. I’ll be scrounging vodka and hiding out in McDonalds. They’ll think I’m an insane, Russian culture-phobic American, but hey. I don’t eat mayo. I don’t eat any condiments at all, actually.

    She is so averse to spicy foods that she was long convinced bell peppers were spicy.

    Heh! Spicy foods really, really make my stomach hurt so I tend to avoid them, and I’m glad to know I’ve got a like-minded person there in Boomer.

  20. I’ll be scrounging vodka and hiding out in McDonalds.

    Oh, you’ll fit right in! No worries! :D

  21. I may have to share this series with my sister, because she has the exact same aversions to vegetables as you do. And actually, she, too, was shocked to learn that snap peas are actually not quite as pea-y as she expected. Now she even willingly adds them to salads!

    PS. sweeeeeeet potatoes…. are soooooo tasty. (especially baked ones) Just don’t let them put brown sugar or marshmallows on them. Unnecessary.

  22. elizabeth, I would love to get Pookie to realize how good sweet potatoes are! And yeah, they TOTALLY don’t need sugar or marshmallows or anything. Next year I’m hoping to grow them in our garden — then Pookie will have to eat them. :D

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