Tag Archives: vegetables

happiness is not a potato

No mockery in this world ever sounds to me so hollow as that of being told to cultivate happiness. What does such advice mean? Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in mould, and tilled with manure. Happiness is a glory shining far down upon us out of Heaven. She is a divine dew which the soul, on certain of its summer mornings, feels dropping upon it from the amaranth bloom and golden fruitage of Paradise. (Charlotte Bronte, Villette)


Happiness is not a potato.

Close to 2 years ago, I was preparing to roast some vegetables for dinner. I washed a potato, and started to cut out some of the eyes that looked like they would be a bit tough, when, to my surprise, I had the impression that the potato was looking back at me. Yes, we all know that potatoes have eyes, but they don’t usually have mournful eyes. Further, I realized that the “eye” I was cutting into with the point of my knife was actually more like the potato’s nostril. Filled with remorse, I stopped to take some photos of my sad, sad potato. (And then I continued to cut it up and put it in a roasting pan.)
Some days later, I came across the quote above, by Charlotte Bronte. Indeed, happiness is not a potato, and I had the photographic proof.

If anything, as far as I can tell, sadness is a potato.

Sad potato is sad.¹

While perhaps not with the same frequency as my sharing of leaves, this is far from the first time I’ve shared vegetables with faces. In fact, 3 years ago, a butternut squash and I declared November 21st to be International Day of the Odd Vegetable.² Together, the squash and I reminisced about an eggplant we once knew.

How about you? Have you come across any produce with personality?

—-

¹ That’s what I was imagining I’d call a post about this potato.
² Alternately, The Day of Peculiar Produce.

Grocery Store Wars

That’s no moon. That’s a melon.

Still tired, still busy, still apparently not feeling inspired to post original content. But here is a YouTube video that follows nicely from yesterday’s food animation pick, specially given the recent release of the trailer for the new Star Wars movie. (And also the Wes Anderson version.) Please enjoy “Grocery Store Wars,” from 2005.

You’re welcome.

artichoke eggs

These cute little artichokes were some that I bought a couple of years ago in the Spring.

Their tiny size and shape was so egg-like once I cut the stems off that I couldn’t resist arranging them in an egg carton.

They look like strange little alien pod eggs. I do wonder what sort of creature would hatch out of such a spiky egg! Likely one with very sharp claws.

Picked a peck

It is said that Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, but this never quite made sense to me. How could the peppers he picked already be pickled? Perhaps the peppers he picked were potential pickled peppers, or pre-pickled peppers. Possibly they were pickling peppers?

These were some of the questions I pondered while picking pecks of peppers at the farm where I am participating in a CSA this year. None of the peppers I picked were pickled.

They were, however, quite pretty.

vegetables of character

And now for something completely different. Well, not completely. It’s still produce. But kinda sorta different.

It’s not tomatoes.¹


I think this guy looks a bit like a cross between The Shmoo and Lou Costello. That is, If their union somehow resulted in a squash offspring. (This photo was from February of this year.)

I chose this photo to post in a hurry tonight, and it reminded me of the bizarre looking eggplant character I’d shared a while back. Upon digging up that post to link to it, I find that it was a year ago today that I shared that eggplant. And so, a tradition is born. From this day forward, I declare November 21st to be International Day of the Odd Vegetable.²

¹ I have one last tomato post stewing, but don’t have time to wait for it to finish cooking. I have too much other produce to deal with for Thanksgivng.
² This name could use Some Work. Any recommendations? (Day of Peculiar Produce?)

the great tomato debate

In the US, we are frequently subjected to the debate over the tomato’s status: Is it a fruit or a vegetable?

The answer, of course, is “yes.”

Because the real question is whether you are asking the question from a botanical or a culinary standpoint.

Botanically, it is unquestionably a fruit:

In botany, a fruit is a part of a flowering plant that derives from specific tissues of the flower, one or more ovaries, and in some cases accessory tissues.

But so is a bell pepper. Or zucchini. Or a butternut squash. But because these things are regularly cooked or included in savory dishes, they are considered vegetables. Culinarily, at least in the US and many European countries, tomatoes are treated as vegetables. You find them cooked into sauces and stews, roasted with garlic, or you might eat them raw, chopped up with herbs and olive oil on bruschetta. They go in the salad with lettuce and onion, not the salad with strawberries and melon.

However, in other parts of the world, the tomato’s status as a fruit is more widely accepted. I remember an occasion where we had a bit of a semester-end party on the last day of a particularly intensive class. People signed up to bring things. A guy from Korea signed up to bring some fruit, and he brought a little box of grape tomatoes, and it led to an interesting discussion.

I remembered this when we were served this dessert at the conference banquet¹ in Shanghai back in May:

The fruit salad consisted of chunks of melon, and grape tomatoes. Aside from my interest in the appearance of tomatoes in a fruit salad, it was a thoroughly disappointing dessert. Which, I suppose, was fitting.³

So, do you want to weigh in the debate?⁴

¹ Sadly, as is often the case with large-scale meals, the quality of the food was pretty mediocre. Pretty much everything I tried was bland.²

² Of course, my options were somewhat limited by my largely vegetarian diet constraints. So I didn’t partake, for example, of this soup. I did, however, appreciate that I was able to easily identify this as chicken soup. Other items that were served to us without explanation were more mysterious.

³ Did I mention the food was mediocre? The food was mediocre.

⁴ And if so, do you want to weigh in using pounds or kilograms?