June 08, 2007

Crabby Admits: Not All Vegetables Taste Terrible

Constant complaints here at Cranky Fitness about how lousy most vegetables taste, especially when compared to hot fudge sundaes, might lead readers to the wrong impression.

Crabby doesn't hate vegetables.

Okay, she hates celery and beets and probably some others she doesn't even remember because it's been a long time since anyone made her eat them. But all and all: it's not true. She eats vegetables all the time and rarely even makes a face. Depending on how they are prepared, Crabby's feelings range from somewhat indifferent to almost enthusiastic.

But here's what sets Cranky Fitness apart from many other health or food blogs: Crabby doesn't pretend that an ordinary vegetable, even one sauteed in something tasty and sprinkled with something crunchy, is in the same league as a juicy steak or a three layer chocolate cake with buttercream icing.

A great vegetable is still just a vegetable.

Crabby will give some examples of vegetables she actually likes. It will not be an exhaustive list, because if Crabby is still blogging in future months and years, she's going to run out of topics. She doesn't want to feel that she's completely used up "vegetables she kind of likes" as a future subject. You won't even remember this post by then, but still, should you find it in the archives you'll think poorly of her if it's the exact same list.

Oh, and another thing. She doesn't give a crap about actual botanical taxonomy. A tomato is a vegetable, for example, because Crabby says it is.

1. Fresh sweet tomatoes in some combination with garlic and basil and olive oil. This can be over pasta or as bruschetta or snuggled next to a slice of fresh mozzarella.

2. Roasted or grilled asparagus, especially if lightly coated with olive oil and cooked way longer than most people like it. Crabby is not sophisticated and doesn't like her spears al dente. She likes them a little bit shrivelled.

3. Sweet in-season corn on the cob. Don't tell Crabby corn is a grain or a starch. As far as she'd concerned, it's a vegetable. She will concede, however, that it still needs to be served with another vegetable, because it only partly counts.

4. Pretty much any vegetable if it appears in a really tasty Thai curry or stir fry.

5. Broccolini sauteed in (again) olive oil with a Whole Ton of garlic.

6. Okay, if we're going to keep sauteing everything in garlic, lets just say garlic! Onions too! Anything tastes good when sauteed with garlic and onions.

That's enough for now. Crabby will do more later.

So how's this for a boring question: do you folks have any favorite vegetables?


  1. Wow, I'm first! That never happens. Pan-seared asparagus is my fav (burnt to a crisp), followed by fresh corn on the cob. I also like some freshly grilled peppers. I find that most veggies are not disgusting with a *little* bit of olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, garlic, and lots of heat.

    And call me crazy, but I still love me some green been casserole. (you know, that soggy cream of chicken soup with canned beans concoction with the crispy things on top.) And that yams dish we always have around thanksgiving with the marshmellows on top. Can one even call these vegetables? I don't think so. I don't ever make either of them but always seem to eat them when they're around.

  2. Vegetables with marshmallows on top? I'm coming to your place for Thanksgiving, Katieo.

    My personal favourite is the humble potato. I know it such a basic that no one ever considers it, but it blends so nicely with butter (and cream and cheese and garlic and ...

  3. Peas. Fresh from the pod. Ideally, sneak out to the garden patch, plunk yourself down in the dirt and have at 'em.
    Carrots if raw and young. Scraped or lightly washed to get most of the dirt off.
    Potatoes, which I will eat raw much to the horror of my husband and his degree in botany.

    I tolerate eggplant only because I invented Nightshade Casserole with it, potato, tomato and bell peppers smothered in goat feta. It's our traditional Samhain meal.

    You are entirely correct about garlic and onions.

    Embed garlic in potato and roast over the campfire.

    And I'll see your tomato as vegetable and raise you a cucumber. I consider Greek salad as a vegetable course.
    Chocolate grows on trees. I say we consider that a vegetable as well.

  4. V8 is a vegetable! In fact, it's eight vegetables!

    The taste isn't exactly wonderful, but for me it's the least painful way to get the yucky green stuff into me. :p

  5. The nice thing about being a grown-up is that I get to pick which veggies I eat - no beets, no Brussels sprouts, no cabbage. All of the veggies dishes on your list sound delicious, but you are missing the cold veggie salads of summer. My faves include lightly cooked broccoli with toasted sunflower seeds in ranch dressing, raw shredded carrots with raisins and Moroccan-style spices and paper thin sliced cucumber with scallions in a vinaigrette. Also ripe (red or yellow) bell peppers go well in both raw and cooked veggie dishes.

    They aren't satisfying in the same way as brownies or steak, but still nice when the weather is hot. (And you're right, fresh sauteed garlic is wonderful with almost everything.)

  6. You already know this, but Pumpkin and Winter Squash!! :)

  7. Oh my goodness--I give you guys this boring-ass topic and you're totally cracking me up!

    Katieo--how could I have forgotten about the marshmallow-covered yams? That's my total absolute favorite vegetable of all time! Don't know why I only have it on Thanksgiving. (And yams are really really good for you, so you can eat the yummy marshmallows without feeling too Evil).

    Hi Dawn--ah yes, potatoes! Yum. They're sort of like corn in my mind, only counting partly as a veggie and requiring another one, unless of course they're purple potatoes and full of antioxidants. Don't know if purple potatoes have made their way to New Zealand yet.)

    Hi leah!
    There is so much I love about your comment that I could go on for dozens of column inches, but I will limit myself to expressing my gratitude for the potato/garlic/campfire idea, which sounds really easy and tasty.

    Oops, gotta take of for a second, more in a minute...

  8. Chicken Girl,
    Hey, V-8 totally counts! My problem is that even though I love tomatoes, and love tomato sauce, tomato juice and tomato soup both taste yucky to me. Makes no sense. Just like I hate olives but love olive oil. Go figure.

    Peggy, I like your list! (Although carrot/raisin salad is something I got sick on as a kid and it still makes me queasy to be anywhere near it). And I'm with you--no brussel sprouts or beets!

    Hi Sera,
    You even eat squash for breakfast, so I'm impressed!

  9. Brocolli, spaghetti squash mixed with Brag's Aminos, sprinkled with parmesean cheese. Any winter squash made into a warm, wondrous soup served (of course) in the late Fall or into Winter (but not during summer).
    And fresh, off the vine, (non-GMO!) tomatoes. Heirloom!
    Corn on the cob, but it's not a vege really as The Crabinator pointed out.

  10. Hi Podp,
    Welcome! Some of those do sound good, especially the soups. (Gotta say, the amino stuff sounds a little scary though...)

    And I like being called the Crabinator, makes me sound sort of fearsome. Grrrrgh!

  11. Snow peas! Baby corn and broccoli in panang curry! Asparagus (but I am allergic and so cannot eat it, booo)! Garden fresh tomatoes with just a sprinkling of salt1 Cucumbers in red wine vinegar with pepper! Avocado (which is, I THINK, a fruit, technically)! Bean sprouts, omg, I love bean sprouts on sammichs and in stir fried anything! Corn! French cut green beans with garlic and salt and butter! Raw carrots!

  12. Oh! Snaps and shells (where you shell some of the peas and leave the rest in the pod but snap off the tough ends) cooked with a ham hock! Also, greens - mixed turnips, collards, and mustards - cooked with garlic and spices!

  13. Dear Crabby,
    Today is my sister's birthday. And, like you, she is not a veggie fan. I hope she's enjoying an apple fritter with some sweet potatoes tonight, followed by apple and banana salad. Oh, and she's almost as crabby as you are. (But a peach compared to my OTHER sister!)

  14. The Rotund,
    What an excellent list! (Except for the baby corn, which I've never quite figured out the point of, since it's mostly yucky cob instead of delicious kernels like real corn.) But I'll even go with you on that because of the Panang curry and because the rest of your list is so awesome.)

    Well hello Anonymous!
    What a coincidence! Just like your sister who's having a birthday today, Crabby grew up getting to count apple & banana salad (some families might call it Waldorf), frozen Mrs. Paul's apple fritters, and canned sweet potatoes swimming in brown sugar sauce as vegetables. (At least on special occasions or when it was a really busy night).

    Crabby did happen to enjoy an especially nice evening tonight (as your sister must have, it being her birthday). After a massage, which was heavenly, she went to a favorite restaurant with Most Significant Other. Vegetables were served but she didn't much notice them one way or another, as Chocolate Budino was on its way for dessert.

    Crabby is certain your sister had a happy birthday, and she is probably getting ready to go to bed soon as she is probably very full and tired and happy after a very pleasant day. (Just guessing).

  15. "Actual botanical taxonomy"! You are too much. I like almost every veggie. Except cooked mushrooms and those brussel sprouts (I think you call them).

    My son having been raised vegetarian also likes almost every veggie -- he will in fact eat a raw red pepper for breakfast coupled with other healthy fare like fruits and homemade whole grain breads. I think if more kids were raised from the start with this stuff they might like it better. Or maybe I'm the luckiest mom on the planet?

    And is it your birthday? Are you trying to be sneaky? If you are you're not very good at it. If it's not your birthday I am very confused. Just in case: Happy Birthday! I'd send you a broccoli and spinach cake but alas I don't know your address. Lucky.

  16. Hi Jennifer!
    Yeah, your suspicions were correct. Wasn't going to mention it, but by bedtime when I saw the anonymous comment from someone who sounded remarkably like my sister I thought what the hell. (Also figured by then no one would even see it, but you've got eagle-eyes!)

    (Some families send sappy cards; other drop by the blog anonymously to say hello. The latter, while less conventional, works just fine for me.)

    Oh, and I don't have a crablet of my own to compare, but does sound like you are an extremely lucky Mom!)

  17. I adore aspargus - just got two big bunches today! I usually just steam my veggies, mircowave them (if they are frozen) or when it's not too hot my favorite is to roast them. I agree with you crabby about beets icky icky ick (but I just read a good aritcle on them with some recipes - I "might" try them - if I do I'll report back) Lady Rose

  18. Hi Lady Rose,

    You're braver than I am--do let me know what you find out if you end up expermimenting!

  19. Eggplant, that staple of grilled veggie plates and Chinese steam tables. Grilled asparagus. Try the Roman dish Asparagi al Bismarck: grilled asparagus with grated parmesan browned over the top, served with a fried egg. Fava beans. Cannellini beans, aka butter beans. Edamame. Mushrooms, from the humble white button mushroom to crimini, portobello (note correct spelling, please), shitake, chantarelles, oyster, and etc. Raw sweet orange bell pepper. Heirloom tomatoes. Garlic, definitely. Vegetable lovers enjoy a richly rewarding diet...

  20. Appleton!
    Yes, of course you're 100% correct. They're all wonderful, especially if fresh and in season and prepared by someone who knows what the heck they're doing.

    But forced to choose between any of them and a hot fudge sundae...

    Sorry. Crabby reveals herself, officially, as hopeless.

  21. Crabby, I can't believe what you have done here. I am an official veggie hater, but as I go through these comments, I find myself agreeing with everyone. Of course I am a low carber so all the veggies (think high starch) that I really, really love are the one's I avoid. (Sighing, big loud sigh.)

    But here we have a list of veggies that goes on and on and I realize I don't hate any of them I just don't love them. I will try oil onions and garlic and see if that improves my veggie intake. I must confess that I am very lazy in the kitchen and to make veggies palatable I have to do work. (clean 'em, cook 'em) I don't like to work!!

    As to V-8, I buy the low sodium and it tastes much better than the regular. Better for you, too.


  22. Hi Cranky! Love the post! Thought I'd give ya a heads up: http://www.thatsfit.com/2007/06/09/not-all-vegetables-taste-terrible/

  23. Ha- well that didn't work! I linked over here from That's Fit this afternoon, just wanted to let ya know. Thanks!

  24. Terrie & Rigel,
    Thank you both so much! I've been out this a.m. and am just running out the door for a baseball game or I'd otherwise effuse in much greater detail over how much I appreciate the support & links & mentions!

  25. Hey crabby,
    Ditto on the corn and asparagus. I also eat a lot of bell peppers and mushrooms. I hear ya about the vegetables ... they definitely don't compare to chocolate cake. Mmmm....no you've got chocolate cake on my mind. dammit :)
    Sorry I haven't been commenting lately .... I've been far too busy but I'm still reading every day.

  26. Heheheheee...being the ever present weirdo:

    Brussel Sprouts steamed in orange juice with shedded cheddar cheese on top...yummmmmmmm....

    Raw fennel slices with olive oil and salt....current addiction

    Greens, greens, greens of any sort sauteed in olive oil with shallots.

    Edemame, green beans, blue potatoes with olive oil, lemon, mint, salt and pepper

    Cabbage with bay leaves, mustard seeds, coconut, cayenne, salt.

    The list is endless..I like veggies better than any other food but salmon (...and pecan pie...and ice cream).

  27. Hi all!

    So Rigel, thanks again! I hope That'sFit readers are impressed with how good vegetables are for you--they gave Crabby the ability to go backwards in time and comment on a post an hour before you'd even written it! (Sorry about that, followed the sitemeter link and jumped the gun a bit.)

    And Martha,
    It's so nice of you to stop by! You and Rigel both seem to have a very sensible approach to health matters and are always fun to read. I really appreciate you guys putting up with me over at your site, even though my blatant attempts to steal visitors must get awfully annoying!

    I really don't know how you guys are able to post so frequently and sound coherent, let alone entertaining. I'm way impressed.

    And hi Pamm!
    I'm sorry, but you'll have to get a whole lot stranger than that in order to be considered a "weirdo" at Cranky Fitness. Some of those veggies, though quite fancy and sophisticated, actually sound tasty! (Even (gasp!) the brussel sprouts.)

  28. I LOVE those baby cucumbers. The texture is so much crispier. Goes great with salsa.

    Cabbage, carrots, onions, broccoli (especially with egg whites in the morning to start my daily veggie quota), and baby lettuces are all great. I hate spinach. The only way that is getting in me is if I hide it in a protein or a fruit smoothie.

  29. goinggone,
    Wow, you can hide spinach in a smoothie? I'm way impressed.

    (I can actually stand spinach fairly well, for some reason, but I'm not sure I could manage to sneak it in a beverage).


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