Thursday, January 2, 2014
The Proof is in the Puking
Usually when we think about the interconnectedness of humanity we imagine sharing love and pain and grief and fulfillment. However, I have found there is joy in discovering commonality in very specific experiences that, when we're young and naive, we imagine are not as universal as they really are.
It's about to get gross.
When I was around eleven years old my mom dished up my dinner and I went in my room to watch The Mickey Mouse Club. I knew that sweet potatoes weren't exactly my favorite vegetable but, being an exceptionally agreeable child, I accepted the helping and licked my plate clean (literally--and I still do it today although less often in public).
Man, did I have one bad case of the flu after that meal. Barf city for days. Since then I have met more than several people who puked a fruit or vegetable or dish and haven't had the same relationship with it since.
I never saw sweet potatoes the same. "No thank you," I stated as cooked, orange vegetables were thrust upon me at every winter holiday event for the next 15 years,"I don't care for sweet potatoes."
Then I had an epiphany a few years ago. Sweet potatoes are like religion: you get sick of it for a long time after a bad experience and then after having it around you and shoved in your face during the holidays for decades, you finally decide to swallow it and VOILA!--an epiphany.
Sweet potatoes are still not my favorite, but I'm over the repulsion. So I put them in soup, order them with steaks, and think about all the lovely fiber, beta-carotene, blah, blah, blah.
All this to say, I made soup. Divine soup. Divine soup that lasts for a week--full of protein and nutrients and goodness.
Here lies another practical lesson: there is a difference between paprika and smoked paprika.
Paprika is a bland yet colorful spice you shake onto deviled eggs.
Smoked paprika is an otherworldly spice that smells like bacon and the laughs of angelic children.
Lesson number two saves you countless hours searching your local Walmart who, by the way, never has any good produce nor anything ethnic or useful to people with allergies or organic health nuts. Look for it at your local Trader Joes, Whole Foods, or Kroger.
Garbanzo beans? Yeah, they're the same thing as chick peas.
By the way, if you're ever on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Cicero means "chickpea." True story.