Sunday, May 09, 2010

Oh, how I've missed you...

I guess this is lame, but I really, really missed vegetables while I was in the US.

I mean, I understand why say in Iceland or Norway or elsewhere in northern Europe they didn't seem to be big on salads and veg, I think Iceland had the most expensive fresh veggies I've ever come across in my life. I get that, those aren't countries really suited to growing a lot of the stuff locally so it kind of breaks the bank. Make up for it with great fish though.

The US though, they have a huge country with plenty of areas where the climate is perfect for growing veggies. There was even some pretty good produce in the stores (not usually on par with the UK, certainly not with Israel, but then I guess I am a little spoiled), but hardly anyone seems to use it.

Am I missing something?

Here no meal is complete without salad, and by salad I mean finely chopped cukes and tomatoes, probably red pepper, maybe parsley or coriander or onions. And any nice meal ideally comes with a whole bunch of salads, some raw, some cooked. In short, vegetables are a big staple.

Just about everywhere we went in the US folks thought a few lettuce leaves maybe with a berry and a shredded carrot for decoration was a salad. Most meals seemed to be some kind of protein and a grain, plus the aforementioned scrappy lettuce leaves. If we were lucky there might be a cooked vegetable, maybe a sweet potato or if we were really lucky, some kind of squash, twice we got really really lucky and there was asparagus.

That was main meals. I thought breakfast was even stranger (and Americans mostly thought my tastes were bizarre), I mean, is it that peculiar to have veggies and salad at breakfast? Apparently. And yes, I have travelled before, quite a bit over the years, but I'ed forgotten this lack of veggies in America, it has been a few years.

It drove me nuts. Weeks and weeks of veggie deprivation, and I started to get real hungry.

What gives?

And what do people do with the bounty of produce in the stores? OK, so when I broke and went out and bought some myself and managed to find sometime between visits and baby to cook it, I discovered that much of it tasted kind of weird. Blandest galangal I have ever had (didn't even smell much of anything, for a second I wondered if I had accidentally bought Jerusalem artichoke, but no, it really was flavourless galangal). The basil was all kind of sweet, like licorice, not richly flavoured the way it is at home. Coriander also felt odd. Cucumber had no flavour. Onions were much milder.

So yeah, it is good to be home among the veggies again. Made a huge pot of tomato-coriander soup, just hit the spot. And dined on lots of chopped up Israeli salad almost every day I've been home. Veggies, oh how I've missed you.

No comments: