Friday, February 26, 2010

I'm no Popeye

I used to think I hated spinach. And greenbeans, peas, and asparagus. Anything green, really. I have vaguely terrifying memories of being made to "just try it" from preschool. Trust me parents, the wrongs that you inflict on your two- and three-year olds will be remembered forever.

I eventually came to terms with veggies, thanks in large part to broccoli with cheese sauce and the discovery that iceberg is not the only lettuce worthy of a salad. These days, I'm loath to think of iceberg lettuce in a salad. That stuff tastes about as good as an actual iceberg, minus the excitement of sinking a luxury cruise liner. Thanks to FoodTV, I even re-discovered spinach.

And then a couple of years ago I was served canned asparagus. Silly me, I'd come to enjoy the fresh stuff, grilled, drizzled with olive oil and roasted, wrapped in prosciutto...yum. But out of a can? Shudder. I had an instant flashback to that nameless preschool.

And then there was today. Charlotte's off school so I took her to the mall to get a long overdue haircut, and we hit the food court for lunch. There aren't a lot of meat-free options at the food court. She wanted pizza, and the Sbarros had some spinach and mozzarella strombolis that looked pretty good. And they were, for one bread-and-mozzarella filled bite.

And then I got a mouth full of the spinach.

It must have been scooped straight from an industrial-sized can and tasted like a big mossy hairball. I nearly gagged on the stuff. And then had to explain to my picky 5-year old why I was scooping half of my lunch out of my bread and onto the plate (right next to the "greek-style salad" whose vinegar-and-oil dressing tasted more like canola). There must have been a full cup of the green gunk in there, innocently wrapped in bread and cheese. No way was this fresh, or even frozen. And beyond whatever salt and chemicals they used to preserve it, it wasn't seasoned in the least (really, a little black pepper goes a long way folks). Or chopped--some of those stringy stems were like four inches long with all the tenderness of nylon rope.

Eew. No wonder I was terrified as a kid. And no way will I trust a food court pizza joint again.

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