Fresh, frozen or canned vegetables?

There’s always room for JELL-O.

When I was growing up in the 1960s, I associate most lunch and dinner food we ate as coming from cans. Campbell’s soup. Fruit juice, usually DelMonte or a store brand. Canned fruit, ditto.

Carnation evaporated milk, which my late great aunt Deana put in her tea. My sisters swear she said she poured it until the drink was as light as she was. For a black woman, she WAS quite fair.

And canned vegetables. The corn and peas weren’t too bad. I would eat spinach because Popeye cartoons had indoctrinated me. But other veggies went from tolerable to inedible. In the latter category, beets. They were vile. I would – seriously – put mustard on them just to kill the taste.

In the 1970s, I was off to college and beyond. My vegetables of choice were generally frozen. They were SO much better than the boring canned varieties. And even better than the Swanson frozen TV dinners we occasionally had in the previous decade.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that I actually discovered fresh vegetables to a large degree. It was A Whole New Dimension in dining. In the last couple of years, I happened to try canned spinach, though I don’t recall the brand. It was terrible! How did I eat that stuff?

Sauté

I was thinking about this because I tend to be the person who cooks the eggs in our household. Usually, when I’m making an omelet, I’ll sauté onions and spinach beforehand. I’ll add mushrooms only if my daughter isn’t eating them. I use Olivio because my nutritionist says it’s better for me than using butter. It cooks the same and works better than most butter/margarine substitutes.

Recently, my wife offered me thawed, chopped, frozen spinach to use. My instincts said this would not work for me. How does one know when frozen spinach is sautéd? When fresh spinach/mushrooms/onions start to wilt, that’s my visual cue. Frozen spinach offers me no visual cue. And it didn’t taste as good.

Now, thawed frozen spinach is great for dips at parties. Remember parties? In pre-COVID days, I used to attend those. [Sigh]

Those ever-shrinking cans of tuna fish – freshwater – are good to have on hand. Do they still also come in oil?

And canned fruit is useful when you put it in JELL-O. Which reminds me, I haven’t had JELL-O since I was sick a few years back. Suddenly, I have a hankering for JELL-O with mixed fruit, topped by Cool Whip. What the heck is in Cool Whip anyway?

Spelling tip: If you write sauté, you only need the D to make it sautéd. But if you write saute, you need the ED to make it sauteed.

FTC whatever: no compensation was received for mentioning these brands.

ARA: Eddie asks about food

The day I got married to Carol, I rode my bike to Friendly’s on Delaware Avenue in Albany for breakfast.

Dolly Madison Raspberry Zingers
A couple weeks ago, Eddie, the Renaissance Geek, who has been one of the bloggers I have been following the longest, asked a series of questions.

What’s your favorite vegetable?

Spinach, no lie. It was one of the few vegetables I would eat as a child, along with peas, corn, green beans, and carrots. In the day, it was all canned. Fairly recently (2013, maybe for my birthday), The Wife bought a can of spinach; it was AWFUL! Fresh, preferably; frozen, if necessary.

Yes, I was heavily influenced by Popeye, who was featured on some local afternoon kiddie shows on WNBF-TV, Channel 12 in Binghamton, on which I appeared a couple times.

Your preferred comfort food?
Continue reading “ARA: Eddie asks about food”

30-Day Challenge: Day 5 – Favorite Food

Do I HAVE a favorite food?

It’s much easier to pick the things I DON’T like.


Ah, a tough one. Certainly, I’ve stated my love of spinach lasagna. Partly, it came from the realization that I didn’t have to cook the noodles beforehand; no, you don’t need to buy those special noodles, you just need extra tomato sauce. But I don’t have it very often. Same goes for dishes with duck, or a beef steak.

I do know that I tend to like things mixed more than plain. Cheerios and shredded wheat is better than either component.
Ditto:
orange juice and cranberry juice
cottage cheese and apple sauce
sharp Cheddar cheese and a Ritz cracker

Thing is, I don’t like that many things over and over. I eat a lot of chicken, but it becomes tolerable only because it’s prepared in different ways.

Though I have gotten into ruts. If I have a bagel, it’ll always be cinnamon raisin, if it’s available. Likewise, strawberry ice cream, lamb saag (spinach) from the local Indian restaurant. My candy choice tends to be plain M&Ms, which I eat in color order (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, brown); it’s part of the enjoyment.

Do I HAVE a favorite food? I suppose it’s spinach, a function of propaganda from daily doses of Popeye on television as a child.

It’s much easier to pick the things I DON’T like: things with peanut butter; things with the artificial banana flavor (I like bananas) or almost any fruit; anchovy; cauliflower; sauerkraut. Don’t drink coffee, beer, vermouth or Scotch, so I don’t like coffee ice cream, e.g.