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.