The Secret Life of Vegetables

The other day I was thinking about a book I read when I was in my early teens. It was about four kids living with their father (I think he was widowed).

When the kids got bored inside, they would play various games. One game was a variation on Twenty Questions that only involved identifying people. One of the characteristics was which vegetable the person most resembled.

I thought it would be interesting to turn the idea around and give the vegetables human characteristics. So let’s join the Tomato sisters, Roma and Cherry, at a cocktail party.

Cherry is indignant. “I can’t believe I had to beg for an invitation to this party. They said it was vegetable only, and we’re fruits. I mean seriously, who knows we’re fruit except humans who remember their first biology class and these snobby Corn people. And they are so crass.

Look at Mrs. Corn. She thinks she’s being sophisticated with her husk peeled down like that. It looks like she wants to show as much kernel as she can without giving away the whole ear. And her husband is in the soaking pool with all those young corn plants.”

Roma giggles. “Look over there at the Cabbages. I don’t understand why Red ever married into the Green family. They are so boring. And she lets him go alone into Cole Slaws with the Carrots. Cherry adds, “Of course she does. He’s so dull she doesn’t have to worry about any of the Carrots being interested in him.”

Roma smirks. “I bet she doesn’t know he still goes to the Kraut Crock with the Spices. I hear he even gets a little pickled sometimes. I can’t believe she doesn’t smell it on him. Cherry says, “Well, it’s not like she has anywhere to go. Her family disowned her when she married into the Green side of the family. They’d turn her into real slaw if she went near them.”

The girls look around. A couple of the Broccolis come up. “Hi girls,” says Ben, the taller of the two. “How’d you like to get out of this place and have some real fun?” The sisters look at each other, and Cherry asks, “What do you have in mind?” Ben replies, “Well, we thought you might want to watch us work out. You know how healthy we are. Then maybe we could go back to our place and we could show you our muscles.”

The girls giggle and refuse. “Can you believe how full of himself he is? He was such a nice guy before they started writing about his family in those health magazines. I hear the whole bunch of them have turned into snobs.”

Roma says, ”It’s so crowded in this room. Let’s see what else is going on.” She opens a door and gasps as she quickly closes it.
“What? What’d you see?” asks Cherry, alarmed. Roma pulls her down the hall and whispers, “You wouldn’t believe what they’re doing in there!”

“What?” Cherry is getting frustrated.

“The green Peppers are having the red and yellow Pepper girls rub dressing all over their bodies and then licking it off of them. You’d think the Corns wouldn’t allow that type of behavior in their house.”

Cherry suggests they go outside for some fresh air. In the yard, they find the Onions talking to the Leeks. The Leeks seem to be upset about something.

“We know that you just took in those young Green Onions because they didn’t have anywhere to go, but they’re taking over the neighborhood. You can see how quickly they set down roots and spread. Could you talk to them about moving toward suburbs rather than taking more room from us?”

Mrs. Onion sighs. “We have tried to talk to them. They were so sweet when they we younger, but now that they’re older and stronger we can barely get near them. We may end up moving near our children up on the north side.”

They continue to talk as the sisters notice a group of Lettuce watching them and whispering. Cherry looks nervous and says to Roma, “Do they look familiar to you?”

Roma answers, “How would I know? All the Lettuces look the same to me.” As she finishes speaking, the Head Lettuce says, “That’s them. I know it is. They snuck into the party at the Mushrooms, pretending to be veggies. Then they went to all their fruit friends and told stories about us.”

The Lettuce spread out and start moving toward the Tomatoes. The girls see them and run for the gate. The Lettuce is right behind when the gate opens. A Pineapple is standing in the opening, holding a hot vinaigrette.

The lettuce backs off, not wanting to wilt.

The girls run out the gate. The Pineapple glares at them. “Your mother sent me out for you. You’re lucky I got there when I did. You’ll be spending some time in the bed thinking about your behavior when we get back.”


PSA: Green Food and Drink

No jokes today (well, maybe a couple – it’s congenital). Just thought some of you might be in the same boat as I’ve been in the past. It’s the last minute, you need a dish for the work pot-luck or party tomorrow night. Or you’re the one having the party and are looking to impress with a new drink. As you have learned in the past, I am a master of the strange party food. So here we go.

From http://www.examiner.com, 35 lucky green cocktails/mixed drinks (you are on your own to find the actual recipe):

Irish Julep – This very light green cocktail calls for Amaro, Irish whiskey, simple syrup, mint leaves and sprigs and crushed ice.

Irish Lady – If you prefer a little champagne with your St. Patrick’s Day, check out this recipe that calls for Midori melon liqueur, orange juice and champagne.

Irish Eyes – This cocktail calls for Irish whiskey, whipped cream and Crème de Menthe. Add a mint leaf and cherry for garnish.

Irish Pride – This citrusy cocktail has green Crème de Menthe, Amaretto and lemon juice.

Everybody’s Irish – You’ll need Irish whiskey, green Crème de Menthe and green Chartreuse.

Lunar Leprechaun – If you drink too many of these, chances are pretty good you’ll be seeing lots of leprechauns. This drink, by Cheri Loughlin, calls for tequila, melon liqueur, Triple Sec, lime juice and a lime wheel for garnish.

Shamrock Shaker – This ice cold drink includes Kahlua Coffee Liqueur, Amaretto, ice cold milk and green cake sprinkles or green edible powder.

Shamrock Shooter – This drink includes Midori melon liqueur, Irish whiskey and Bailey’s.

Bagpipers Melody – This refreshing drink calls for 2 ingredients – whiskey and green Crème de Menthe.

Lucky Tart – You just may get lucky with this drink that calls for Sour Apple Pucker, tequila, melon liqueur and fresh lime juice.

Midori Cosmopolitan – Get your Carrie Bradshaw on!

Apple Martini – This super-simple Taste of Home recipe calls for vodka, sour apple liqueur and lemon juice. Voila!

Apple Fools Martini – There is nothin’ foolish about this cocktail! You’ll need fresh basil leaves, Blanco tequila, simple syrup, Green Chartreuse, red grapefruit juice and lime juice.

Emerald Martini – The color of this Martini is just plain lovely.

Emerald Isle – You’ll need Crème de Menthe, gin and bitters for this drink.

Jade Isle – This pretty drink calls for Midori melon liqueur, Blue Curacao, cranberry vodka, 7-Up, sweet and sour mix and a cherry.

Midori Mimosa – You’ll need Midori melon liqueur, sweet and sour mix and champagne for this top-rated cocktail.

Midori Mojoito – Besides Midori, this refreshing drink calls for white rum, club soda, lime and a few mint leaves.

Skinny Mojito – This cocktail includes Agave nectar, club soda, African rum, mint leaves and a lime wheel.

Fresh Lime Margarita – This popular drink calls for gold tequila, triple sec, fresh lime juice, sugar, kosher salt and lime wedges.

Margarita Jello-Shots – This fun recipe calls for Lime Jell-O, tequila, triple sec and lime juice.

Cactus Jack – This drink calls for agave tequila, blue curacao, orange, pineapple and lemon juices.

Green Eyed Tiger – You’ll need Midori, silver tequila, ginger knob, orange and lime juice.

Green Apple Champagne Cocktail – Besides champagne, this cocktail recipe calls for apple pucker, apple vodka and pineapple juice.

Midori Sour – This popular drink rates nearly a perfect 10.

Love Junk – Need a little love junk this St. Patrick’s Day? This drink calls for 3 ingredients – Midori, peach schnapps and apple juice.

Melon Chiquita Punch – If you are looking for a bit of tropical delight this St. Patrick’s Day, look no further. This punch recipe includes Banana liqueur, pineapple juice, coconut milk and Midori.

Green Daiquiri Punch – This emerald green drink calls for frozen limeade, Gatorade, light rum, and lemon-lime soda.

Green Flash Cocktail – This green beverage calls for Peach schnapps, vodka, Blue Curacao, orange juice, sprite and ice.

Green Lizard Shot – You’ll need Green Chartreuse and rum. Don’t forget the shot glass.

Kiwi Cocktail – This drink looks fabulous! You’ll need kiwi liqueur, vanilla vodka, ice cubes and a ripe kiwi.

Sage Lady – If you are looking for the perfect emerald green beverage, this one isn’t it. This cocktail calls for sage leaves, VeeV Acai Spirit, Green Chartreuse, lemon juice and simple syrup.

Warming Zen – This yellowish-greenish cocktail calls for Zen Green Tea Liqueur, simple syrup, steamed milk, Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey, matcha and cocoa powder.

Pickle Back – Yep. A shot of bourbon or Irish whiskey followed by a shot of pickle brine – that’ll cure what “ales” you!

Frozen Grasshopper – If you are looking for a great way to end your evening, try this delicious recipe on for size. You’ll need vanilla ice cream, green Creme de Menthe, white Creme de Cacao, ice and and fresh mint leaves.

There is also Dr. Oz’s Green Drink, which is supposed to make you feel hale and hearty. Personally I’d save it for another day (or never): Apples – 2 medium , celery – 3 stalk, large, cucumber – 1 cucumber, ginger root – 1/2 thumb; lemon (with rind) – 1/2 fruit, lime (with rind) – 1 fruit, parsley – 1 bunch, and spinach – 2 cup. Throw everything into a juicer/blender. Hold down the button until it’s as close to liquid as it gets, and enjoy. It’s been endorsed by Oprah, if that makes it sound better to you.

For something to slow the alcohol, here are some foods from http://www.listplanit.com. On the health scale, they fall between Dr. Oz and the drinks:

Green Veggies – peppers, celery, cucumber (with the skin on), asparagus, avocado, broccoli, green beans, spinach, lettuce, peas, sugar snap peas, zucchini (ick)

Green Fruit – Granny Smith apples,kiwi, Honeydew melon, green grapes

Other Green Foods – pea or broccoli soup, pesto (I would recommend putting it in something, it’s a little oily straight, spinach wraps, spinach pasta, green veggie chips, pistachio pudding, mint chocolate chip ice cream

Green Chocolate Chip Cookies – made like you normally do but with green food coloring and mint chocolate chips, then make ice cream sandwiches with these and some mint chocolate chip ice cream!

Green Food Coloring – Add a little green food coloring to any soft, light colored food – remember that one drop can go a looong way: milk, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, homemade bread or biscuits, apple sauce, rice Krispie bars, white cheddar macaroni and cheese, ranch dressing, vanilla yogurt, whipped cream. You may want to save some of these for after the drinking starts.

Remember: green beer is generally the bar’s cheapest beer with a couple of drops of food coloring in it.