Monday, July 5, 2010

The Vegetative State

A Plea to My Neighbors, In-Laws and Co-Workers:


I know you're really proud of these wonderful vegetables that you've grown from the soil of your own yard with the back-breaking labor of your own two hands (not to mention your own back), but for pity's sake, NO MORE PRODUCE!

You see, I am a child of 60's, when a combination of terrible weather conditions and totalitarian policies created widespread famine. When I was a kid, I couldn't flip on the television without some huge-eyed child staring longingly through the screen at my TV dinner.

"Here," I would say, holding out a forkful of green beans to the skeletal figure on the screen, "take them! I don't like them anyway."

From across the room, my mother would eye me reproachfully.

"Children in China would be glad to have those vegetables," she said.

And guilt would force me to choke down those stringy, nasty green beans, but the experience scarred me.

Here's how badly: A few years ago, I made a bowl of Kix for breakfast, only to realize the milk was sour But instead of tossing it into the garbage, I dumped it into a colander and rinsed it under the tap. Then I put the Kix back in the bowl, poured on fresh milk and ate them.

I cannot throw food away.

So if you give me a zucchini, I must make zucchini bread.

And if you give me 20 cucumbers, I will make an industrial vat of cucumber salad.

And if you give me two dozen tomatoes, I'll be up half the night, peeling and freezing the damned things.

This summer, thanks to a spring of consistent rain and perfect temperatures, local gardens are yielding bumper crops and inspiring their owners to spectacular acts of generosity.

And all this, mind you, to a woman who DOES NOT COOK.

But, they say if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

To which I would reply: what the hell else am I going to do?

It's not like I can throw them away.


  1. You know how to make zucchini bread! My neighbour used to send me produce from their farm. Even though I loved brinjals but could never finish them.

  2. Bless your heart- I, too, grew up when you could not leave a green bean on your plate, let alone allow a sack full of cucumbers spoil!
    Maybe I will rethink my position on gardening-mostly encouraging others to do so in order for me to reap the rewards.
    As it is, all I have is a sunbleached twisty turvy tomotae grower from last season. The poor thing never produced a single plant.
    Wish I was closer- I sneak in and unload a few ;-)

  3. Ack! I wish I was your neighbor! I could use an abundance of veggies - wait what am I saying! I don't have time either!!! The concept is nice though.

  4. This one reminded me of the days when the guys with the carts would weave in and out of our neighborhood on a hot afternoon like this yelling, " FRESSHHH TOMAAAAYYYYYTOES, YEEEEELLLLLLLOW CORN, GREEN BEEEEEEEEEANSSSS! PEACHES, MELLONS!!!"

  5. We have a bumper crop of yellow squash and they are KILLING me for the same reason. I cannot throw them away but I am completely out of ideas for what in the world to do with them.

  6. This reminds me of a story when a preacher had a friend come visit him for a couple days. They drove all around town on errands and the preacher would never lock his car. When they got to church the next day he told his friend to make sure and lock the car. He asked why he didn't trust his congregation. He said he did, but if they didn't lock the doors, his car would be full of zuchini after church.

  7. Couldn't you, say, box them up and send them over here? ;) I can't throw food away, either, but I do love vegetables!

  8. Ha! This has already started in my office too. I got a zucchini two weeks ago from a colleague, and it's still sitting on my kitchen counter.

    Or is it a squash? It's yellow. Which one is yellow?

    I wish someone would bring me berries!!

  9. Don't want you to miss Raisin Chronicles featured in my post today- (I know you may be baking) ;-)


  10. This cracked me up. Send them to me, I can totally throw them away. I suck at cooking and I throw moldering, unused crap I find in my fridge away all the time.

  11. So funny! I'm the same way. I wind up making liters of tomato sauce that last years.
    It's too bad that all the veggies ripen at the same time.

  12. I suppose the old adage feast or famine is a truism. I never, as in never receive gifts of vegetables. I did receive some herb cuttings this year, which I successfully rooted & planted. But I would so love to have garden tomatoes or lettuce or squash. Sounds like I need to plant my own.

    The sweet problems of prosperity!

  13. I know exactly what you’re going through (well, not exactly because I have a composter and it alleviates a lot of guilt of throwing away veggies).

    A woman I work with is a ferocious gardener. She brings me zucchini the size of elephants. And rhubarb. Who knows what to do with rhubarb? I thought she would stop once fall came but then it was frozen stuff and even a bag of chicken bones!

  14. I remember when I was young, folks would pop by and give us all kinds of goodies - fruits, food etc. Living in the city, the practice is not so prevalent.


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