Friday, June 29, 2007

Whatever You Do, Don't Plant It

In my neck of the woods, vegetable gardening has catapulted in popularity. Everyone's doing it.

I don't normally notice fads; I like to keep it real. Besides, fads would only distract me from my "core" workouts - and my stronger "core" has really taken my break dancing to another level.

In this case, though, the vegetable-growing fad has caused a vegetable surplus. The houses of our neighborhood overflow with bountiful harvests. Zucchinis overwhelm the kitchen table, quickly take the counters and move on to dominate coffee tables. And the damn cucumbers? Regardless of the nutrition, they have become cucumber-some.

That's where I come in. Everyone knows that when food is involved, Grim Richard can move it from a sur-plus to a sur-minus in a few minutes. And I'm happy to do it, provided I'm not practicing pikes, handstands or freezes with my crew. I do prefer, however, home-grown vegetables from people other than my wife. My wife is new to the farming craze and that means she is weird about vegetables. We're having these kind of conversations:

Wife: Did you eat the vegetables I harvested yesterday?
Me: I only saw a cherry tomato. I couldn't think of anything you can make with one cherry tomato.
Wife: Why didn't you eat it by itself? Is there something wrong with my tomatoes?
Me: Uh, no. They're good.
Wife: Good? You don't think they're better than store-bought?
Me: Uh, your vegetables taste way better. Their vegetable skills are no match for your vegetable skills. Your vegetables cause little explosions of flavor in my mouth.

The phrase "my tomatoes" is key here. My wife nurtured these plants and that makes them different from the other vegetables we normally ignore when we're reaching for ice cream. Speaking of ice cream...

Wife: What are you eating?
Me: Vanilla ice cream. Ummmm.
Wife: You know what would go good with that?
Me: Chocolate sauce?
Wife: No. Fresh cilantro from my herb garden.

I know she'll get over it. The other day a guy at work gave me a bag of broccoli from his garden and I started my spiel.

"Ooooh!" I said. "I can't wait to get home and cook this. It smells much fresher than those pesticide bombs you buy at the grocery store."

"Whatever," said the guy. "I've got fifty bags of this stuff. I don't care if you boil it, fry it or throw it at small animals."

He leaned in closer.

"But whatever you do, don't plant it."

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