The seasons are changing. We are moving into Fall and I have started cooking fall themed meals. I picked up some broccoli this week and smiled when I remembered this was a vegetable I detested when I was growing up.
I was so fussy with the vegetables that I would eat when I was growing up. My earliest memories are of nothing but canned. Yes, that is right - we ate mainly canned vegetables. Our house was build around 1920 and we had built in cabinets in the kitchen. These were stocked with canned food. It was a quartet of 4 main vegetables; peas, corn, green beans, and carrots. Peas were pretty straightforward but the canned corn came in a wide variation of styles. Yellow, White which was called shoepeg, creamed and mexi-corn. Creamed was one of our favorites. I have no idea exactly how it was made but I suspect it was really crushed corn and no cream was to be found. I remember visiting one of my aunts one summer in Oregon and she served real creamed corn and I was amazed. We all lapped it up. Here is a recipe from Mark Bitten for real creamed corn.
Green beans were usually cut or french style green beans. I loved the french style green beans. Sometimes my mother would cook up some bacon and combine it with the green beans. Canned carrots were pretty straightforward. I remember they later introduced 'crinkle cut' carrots but it really wasn't anything different from the standard sliced carrots.
It was in the mid-60's that our family discovered frozen vegetable. Wow - what a change from the mushy salty canned vegetables. Peas were so different and frozen peas quickly came a favorite over canned. We also really liked the Birds Eye rice dishes. They had these different frozen rice dishes in pouches that you would boil and serve. They were very tasty. We eventually moved mostly to frozen vegetables.
But we rarely ate fresh vegetables beyond lettuce. I know a lot had to do with my refusing to eat other types of vegetables. My mother would cook asparagus, zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower but I refused to eat them. They were mostly boiled but a few she would cook up in a sauce with cheese - I still wouldn't eat them. It was a shame because I grew up near the best location for fresh asparagus. Every spring my parents friends and neighbors would bring crates of beautiful fresh asparagus. My parents would eat it boiled up and served with a dollop of mayonnaise. I hated it - or thought I did. My mother would even blanche it and freeze it so she would have it later in the season. Today I will love to get a crate of fresh asparagus from the California central valley,
Corn on the cob was one vegetable that we ate fresh. I loved it and ate lots in the summer. It was very inexpensive in the central valley of California and had it at least once a week. We also occasionally had fresh carrots. There was one different vegetable that I would eat - turnips! My mother would peel, slice and boil them. I love turnips - even raw. I especially love them boiled with slabs of butter or in a beef stew. I rarely eat them now. I need to put them on my grocery list because they are a great vegetable for fall and winter.
When I married G, I learned that he mostly ate salads. He occasionally ate similar canned vegetables but nothing different. But one day, he brought home some broccoli from a botany class and wanted me to cook it. Eek! I had no idea what to do. I think I boiled it and we both discovered it wasn't that bad. Soon we were having broccoli.
Now, we love most vegetables. I discovered fresh green beans in college and sugar snap peas when we started our first vegetable garden. I have rarely purchased canned vegetables in the past 20 years. Majority is always fresh and if possible purchased from local farmers.
There are a few that I still struggle eating. I don't like cooked leaf vegetables - spinach, swiss chard, kale. G likes them but I still just gag....