an ambiguous array of vegetables


Tonight we had dinner with my in-laws, and we had a lot of vegetable options: green beans or peas and carrots and rutabagas and potatoes or butternut squash. As you can imagine, it was difficult to keep track of them for serving, not to mention difficult to determine their syntactic bracketing, due to the combination of the coordinating conjunctions and and or. In the end, one person had green beans and potatoes only, one had green beans, potatoes, butternut squash and peas, one had peas and rutabagas and carrots and potatoes, and three of us had peas and carrots and rutabagas and potatoes and butternut squash. (Though one of those three did not actually eat any of the butternut squash, though it was on his plate. And one of us got a fair amount of butternut squash on her face. One of us attempted to feed a carrot to his pants. One of us enjoyed saying the word rutabaga.) It is important to mention that the peas and carrots were not bracketed together, as the carrots were roasted with the rutabagas and some of the potatoes. Some of the potatoes were therefore bracketed with the carrots and rutabagas, and some of the potatoes were mashed. While everybody ate potatoes, the potatoes were either mashed, or roasted with sage and bracketed with the carrots and rutabagas. Nobody who ate mashed potatoes and green beans ate rutabagas and carrots. (The green beans only came bracketed with ham, which is not a vegetable.) It is entirely possible that every person had peas. At least 2 peas ended up on the carpet, though the carpet was not given a fork.

I would attempt to diagram this, but then I might not be finished with this post before midnight. Instead, I will show you my plate.

My plate held many vegetables. Also tofurkey and a roll.

5 responses to “an ambiguous array of vegetables

  1. LOL. Glad to see that someone had fun with their food today.

    We made tofurky today too for my brother-in-law but somehow yours looked a lot better.

  2. That was one of the more entertaining enumerations of Thanksgiving menus that I’ve seen!
    It was probably a wise decision not to arm the carpet with a fork.

    We had (kale and carrots) and/or potatoes and/or yams and/or cheesy broccoli and/or (brussels sprouts and bacon). I think those were all the vegetables–though I realize cheese and bacon are not vegetables. I think that I won the award for least popular dish, since I brought the kale and carrots, but I made up for it by providing a homemade apple pie and a rectangular non-pie of apples and strawberries with crust on top. The latter dessert was invented after I had already prepared the ingredients for 2 apple pies, when I discovered that I only own one pie tin.

  3. That was thoroughly enjoyable to read. Thanks for such a clever post.

  4. Very clever! As far as my veggies were concerned, I had broccoli (with cheese and rice), potatoes (mashed).

  5. Are you a fan of those sorts of logic puzzles where the man in the green hat is standing behind the lady in the red shoes, and you need to find out where in line the girl in the yellow sweater is? Somehow, this seems similar.

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