I remember the horrified look on a friend’s face when I opened my lunchbox one day to reveal an innocent bunch of broccoli florets. He almost choked. “You’re putting broccoli in your salad?” Undeniably, to some of my friends, I am a vegetable freak.
It is indeed quite hard for me to cite a single vegetable I wouldn’t eat. There are some however that until recently, I just wouldn’t have rushed at when shopping by myself. Beetroot is one of them, poor beetroot! It’s not that I didn’t like it, but I definitely preferred all things mediterranean.
Both my parents are from Provence, and though I didn’t grow up there, I most certainly grew up delighting in platefuls of ratatouille and all kinds of greens sprinkled with thyme, topped with fresh basil, soaking in olive oil or in tomato sauce.
So, naturally, when I left home and started taking care of my own food, tomatoes were on top of my shopping list, year-round. I willingly accepted the idea that it is better to eat seasonal food. I did my best, but tomatoes were the cornerstone of my diet and I had simply never thought of doing without them.
I soon discovered that the lovely Breton city I had settled in as a student had a fantastic farmer’s market I could easily walk to every saturday morning. In the summer months, I would find organic tomatoes that had nothing, nothing in common with their supermarket counterparts. I stopped buying – in fact I even stopped wanting – tomatoes in the winter.
Great, I thought, I’ve reached that step: I’m eating local, seasonal food, and I don’t even feel deprived. I’d rather not eat tomatoes than eating this watery, tasteless shit. If I want color on my plate, I’ll have beetroot instead.
That’s my point. Not beetroot. Beetroot instead. I had certainly taken a step forward but as I was about to realize, there was still some way to go.
to be continued…
PS: Photo of this fall’s farmer’s market goodness stolen from a certain brother of mine.