Vegetable tastings against my will

When my sons are home, I learn about the popular culture and television that I usually avoid. This summer I've been introduced to "No Reservations," on the Travel Channel. The host, writer, chef, and grump, Anthony Bourdain, travels to different parts of the globe with a willingness to eat whatever weird food item is part of the local cuisine.

Of course, my sons also watch "Dirty Jobs" on the Discovery Channel, hosted by Mike Rowe. At first I didn't distinguish between the two shows, and thought the New Orleans Norwegian rats caught on the one were being wok-fried on the other. Please be patient. I've just arrived on this planet. I still think Rachel Ray has a sister named Evoo.

The preschoolers give me plenty of opportunites to clean up dirty jobs without special infrared night vision goggles. The school garden has provided two episodes for my own culinary growth show, known as "Severe Aversions."

We grew a brussel sprout plant that provided close to one hundred fresh mini-sprouts in July. The little students had to be really strong to pull the sprouts from the stalk. Cooked with enough garlic and olive oil, the two I willingly ate were quite tasty.

Now I understand why Southerners grow and eat okra. The last few weeks have been brutally hot, but the okra plant is thriving. It's a bush really, and about as big as those inflated Christmas Santas. The blossoms are a lovely creamy yellow with alizarin crimson centers. Today we sampled our pickled produce, and I'm sad to report the okra was slimy and disgusting.

So perhaps on pay-per-view brussel sprouts knock out okra.

© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder

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