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Which vegetables do you love to hate? May 19, 2012

Posted by ourfriendben in gardening, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. Our friend Ben and I love most vegetables, and hate some vegetables. Slippery, slimy, bitter turnips and rutabagas have never darkened the door of our cottage home, Hawk’s Haven. (We do make an exception for Japanese salad turnips, which are almost as small as radishes and used raw in the same way.) Beet, radish, and turnip greens have also simply paused at our sink on their swift transition from root-topper to chicken feed.

It’s true that I suspect OFB of liking some veggies less than I do. Offered a choice between green beans, broccoli, and asparagus, he’ll inevitably choose either beans or broccoli. But if I tell him asparagus is on the menu, he never complains.

There are three veggies that definitely divide us into the love/hate camp, however: beets, Brussels sprouts, and lima beans (actually butter beans, the big, meaty limas). I love them all. OFB can’t stand them. He can’t stand them no matter how they’re prepared, and trust me, I’ve tried. He recently added avocado to the “never feed me this again” list, just when I’d finally been learning to appreciate it despite its horrifically slimy texture. 

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg lettuce. I despise mealy, tasteless zucchini unless it’s completely disguised in spaghetti sauce or zucchini bread. OFB won’t touch cucumbers unless they’ve been turned into pickles. OFB and I love white corn, having grown up in the South, where yellow corn was considered “horse corn;” here in PA, most of the folks we know eat yellow corn and pass on the ‘Silver Queen’.

Our friends Carolyn, Gary and Rudy will only eat radishes that are mild, while we love them firebreathing hot. Neither OFB nor I can abide the horrid, moisture-sucking quality of raw mushrooms, though we both love cooked mushrooms. Our friend and blog collaborator, Richard Saunders, can’t stand eggplant. Strangest of all, our friend Rob hates tomatoes and watermelon!

Perhaps the biggest line in the sand gets drawn over the onion/garlic issue. Raw, cooked, both, or neither? OFB and I love them all, in all their forms. But we know ever so many people who simply can’t bear one version or another, or garlic, or onions, or seemingly every form of allium in existence. We think they don’t know what they’re missing, but maybe they feel the same way about our aversion to rutabagas. And, of course, we pity the countless hordes who can’t abide okra.

Which vegetables do you love to hate?

              ‘Til next time,




1. domesticateddilettante - May 19, 2012

My love-to-hate is the poor beet. I tried, I really tried. I even hid my gagging and tried to feed it to my oldest when he was a baby so I wouldn’t limit him by my bias. He was a voracious vegetable eater as a baby, but those beets came flying back at me and we were both relieved to dump the rest of the jar and move on. Fortunately my better half doesn’t care for them either so I’ve never grown them or brought them home from the grocery store. Beyond beets, we’re pretty open to most vegetables.

Happy gardening!

Hi Terry! Thanks for speaking up! I’d advise all beet-haters to try golden beets, chopped and roasted with a medley of other roasted veggies (say, sweet onions, sweet potato chunks, yellow or orange bell peppers, and asparagus) with salt, fresh-ground pepper, oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary, and extra-virgin olive oil drizzled on top. The golden beets are much milder and less earthy than red beets; even OFB has been completely fooled into eating them. On the other hand, why bother when your family loves so many other veggies? And are you really in Tennessee (OFB’s and my home state, we’re from Nashville) or am I misreading your e-mail address?

2. SaraC - May 19, 2012

As a Californian, we are opposite side of the slimy battlefield when it comes to okra and avocado. I have tried, so I have, to enjoy okra, but have been forced to conclude that it is simply a creature from outer space. Meant possibly for peaceful coexistence, but certainly not eating. Avocado on the other hand, is a Food of the Gods, and people who don’t like it arouse deep suspicion in me. I live on avocado, garden tomatoes, and sea salt all summer long, and I’m pretty sure without it all my hair would fall out and I’d forget how to tie my shoes. Well, at least we agree on garlic!

Hey Sara (my first name’s Sara, too, btw; I see your e-mail has “e” after Sara, please don’t tell me it stands for Ellen, or we’re doubtless clones or something)! I’m really making progress, avocado-wise; I even got a ‘Day’ avocado from Logee’s so I could grow my own. Not sure I’ll be able to win OFB over, but we’ll see. As for okra, if you didn’t grow up with it, I think the only hope is fried okra, or tempura okra, which neutralizes the slime factor. Though now that I think of it, okra/corn quiche and okra focaccia could be contenders…

SaraC - May 21, 2012

The E is for Elizabeth, so we’re safe there. (High fives for the no-H spelling, by the way!)

Well, my sister’s name is Elizabeth, so I guess we’re even! No credit to me for the absent “h,” I was named for my grandmother who was also a Sara.

3. h.ibrahim - May 20, 2012

I hate celery—we never ate it in Pakistan and still don’t for very good reason.

I know what you mean. Growing up, I couldn’t understand my father’s love of celery (a dish of celery and olives was his favorite appetizer). But after reading endlessly about the huge health benefits of celery, I’ve made an effort to include it, along with equally loathed cucumbers and avocado, in my salads. I’ve found that all of them are fine when you mix them in a colorful, crunchy salad!

4. Mike Timonin - May 23, 2012

I like avacado in guacamole (my fave recipe – avacado, a little lime juice, a little salt, mash.), but not by itself – it’s like eating play dough. I’ve never found raw mushrooms to be “moisture-sucking,” and people who don’t like garlic are probably not fully human – some sort of alien hybrid. My wife and I are grudgingly coming to an appreciation of onions – we love the frozen chopped onions for cooking with, in particular – but neither of us like okra. We differ on brussel sprouts – I love them (Especially the tiny frozen sweet kind – not the huge semi-cabbage kind) and she doesn’t. Have you tried chopping them and sauteing them with plenty of butter and garlic? My wife will eat them that way. My wife is a huge squash fan, and I tolerate it, grilled, in small quantities. Neither of us particularly like bananas, which, I suppose, is a fruit.

Hi Mike! The only times I’ve successfully tricked OFB into eating Brussels sprouts were when they were chiffonaded—shredded into slawlike pieces—and either sauteed or roasted. If he can see what they are, he won’t eat them. As for bananas, their window of deliciousness is so tiny it can be measured in hours. Basically, they’re wonderful if you catch them at the exact moment they turn from slightly green to completely yellow. Before that, they’re dry, astringent and mealy; after that, they’re slimy, with that rotten scent underlying their sweetness. Yecchhh! Thank God for banana bread!

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