My friend Dan made a comment today, as a result of my post on sauerkraut, about wanting pesticide-free organic red cabbage. My first thought when I read the comment was “yeah, me too. I can live with a bug or two in my kraut if it means not poisoning myself and the environment.”
And this thought led to a memory too good to not share.
Many years ago, on our Ma’s farm, on a mid-summer night, Ma asked me to go cut some broccoli for dinner. It was done. I brought it in, and she rinsed it well, pulled out 7 or 8 little green worms, and tossed it into a pot of boiling water. A few more little worms rose to the top of the water. She pulled them out. Nothing unusual there.
That broccoli was incredible. It tasted like the first broccoli ever. Like the first bite of real food after 15 months in space must taste to an astronaut. That fresh-from-the garden, pesticide-free broccoli is the only thing I remember from a meal that I know included something like juicy, tender ham with red-eye gravy, biscuits, and who knows what else. I think my brother, Eric, ate two-thirds of the bowl, himself.
That broccoli was so good that the next night we knew we would be eating more of it. So out to the garden I went for another batch. This time, though, my sister Karin, and her youngun’s were over. I brought the broccoli in and once again, Ma started to rinse it. But wait! Sister had a trick! “Lemme show ya, Ma, how to get the worms out real quick.”
She filled the sink with water and added a good palmful of salt to it, mixed it around, and plunged the broccoli in. Before our eyes, worm after worm after worm floated to the top of the water. There were 50 of them, if I remember correctly. I think one of us weirdos actually counted. A good trick! Onto the stove went the broccoli, and another of Ma’s fabulous farmhouse feasts was set before us. In comes Eric, who proceeded to set to and tuck in, going for the broccoli first.
He took a couple of bites of the broccoli, ruminated as he, well, ruminated, and then asked, “Did you do something different? It just doesn’t taste as good as it did last night.” I thought Ma was going to stop breathing – she was laughing so hard. She and I were the only two who knew what had happened the night before. We confessed. We knew it wouldn’t bother him, or any of us, to think that we had eaten, oh, probably 7 or 8 worms apiece the night before. After all, this was the guy who ate a Daddy Longlegs off the wall outside the high school cafeteria, once.
So, the next time you enjoy your pesticide-free produce, think of the added protein you’re likely getting, and enjoy!