Everyone has one fruit or vegetable that they just inexplicably love. And if they don’t, they should, because they’re going to die from a lack of vital nutrients (I write this, waiting for my friends who eat nothing but chicken fingers and Doritos to outlive me).
But back on the topic of a beloved fruit or vegetable. There’s something different, in my mind, to loving these foods from loving pasta or casseroles or breads. Veggies and fruits are unfussy. They can often be eaten raw. Chances are, there are many ways to prepare them that vary widely throughout the world, linking cultures together inspirationally while enabling me to eat more (my favorite way to appreciate diversity). There’s a romantic purity about adoring something fresh and green and not-sentient. Don’t get me wrong; I’m the biggest carnivore on the planet and would probably eat my cats if the mood was right, but vegetables and fruits! Man! I can just hear the wholesome backing music already. We’ve been brainwashed to be proud of our fruits and veggie love, backpatted by the government for supporting what remains of the farmers and for our health consciousness.
But let me be honest – when I eat cauliflower, I don’t care if it’s healthy. I will eat it raw and I will eat it slathered in plastic cheese. I love it. I LOVE it. Cauliflower is my Forever Veggie. Let me tell you about it.
Cauliflower is usually kept near broccoli at the grocery store. That’s how I came about it when I was little, and talked my mom into buying me a head. It was so weird looking, all craggy and snowy and crackly when you pulled the leaves away to reveal an anemic human brain. I love the look of cauliflower, how it shares discomforting visual queues with what’s in my head, and how it looks like snow-capped trees when broken up into florets. Florets! I feel so French, with that delicious accent on the second syllable! Speaking of linguistics, I pronounce “cauliflower” the Southern way by leaving out the “i”, rendering it silent.
The taste is very clear to me. I know some call it bitter, but I prefer it to the overwhelming sweetness of carrots and oranges. I usually eat it raw, but sometimes I’ll cook it with buffalo sauce until the tops of it caramelize and turn brown. I’ll toss it with curry and drizzle it over rice. I’ll lightly sauté it with pasta and breadcrumbs. Or I’ll just shove raw handfuls in my mouth with blissful abandon. Let no head be left to wilt in the fridge! I will take care of that sucker without even trying. Bring me your tired, huddled cauliflowers, and I will devour them!
What fruit or vegetable do you love?