I had to start eating better. My doctor said so; Tracy said so; many newspaper articles said so. Eating better correlates with living longer. Living longer sounds like a good plan.
On the other hand, I hate vegetables. Well, not entirely. I like spinach and corn and tomatoes; I sort of like asparagus and green beans. The rest: Not at all. The only question I ask salad is about its dressing. If it’s good, I’ll suck some lettuce leaves and get the dressing.
Then I will discard the lettuce leaves.
Because, really, it’s extruded gruel. And don’t tell me about the subtle taste of radicchio or romaine. Kleenex has a subtle taste, too, but years have gone by since a tissue passed my lips.
My habits formed early. I grew up in a meat-centric culture. Also: potatoes, which are technically a vegetable, but too many people like them. There was also a vegetable on the long-ago plate, but no one took it seriously. Chopped parsley on top of a baked potato, sure. Just mix it well with the sour cream and the Bac-O-Bits. Butter, too, if necessary. But peas? If you must, for color or something. Just be sure they don’t touch anything else, because that fetid pea taste is hard to wash away.
My feelings about vegetables make me a heretic among my people, the Bay Area white community. My bio-region believes that eating kale and whole grains will allow everyone to live to 250. I might occasionally whisper “even vegetarians die,” but only to myself, in a closet, at midnight
I mustn’t say bad things about vegetables, because think of the children. I live in a place where giving a kid a Cheeto is like feeding him arsenic. Buying a kid a Big Mac is like consigning her to death by stroke at 45. Gluten or GMO foods? Might as well start covering the mirrors.
I find myself in the position of having to eat vegetables. I find this to be a cruel cosmic joke. Nevertheless, I somehow have to eat vegetables that don’t taste like vegetables. So someone suggested the Vitamix. I bought one (ruinously expensive). It came. It loomed.
This baby stands 25 inches tall; note how it dwarfs the coffee maker. The instruction booklet comes with 21 separate “safeguards and warnings.” Several of them discuss how sharp the blades are. “Rotating blade can cause severe injury. Do not reach into the container when machine is running.”
I would not reach into the container if it were disassembled and bathed in Listerine.
But still, I want to live to be 400 so I can sit around a hospital for the terminally stupid with my other drooling friends. Because old age: Very relaxing.
I got a Vitamix recipe book. (It cost extra. Of course it did. ) I decided to make a Fruit Salad Smoothie. I assembled the required ingredients.
Technically, I suppose, there are vegetables in there. Carrots are a vegetable; so are cucumbers. But it’s mostly fruit; fruits are my favorite type of vegetable. My smoothie is a lot healthier than a croissant or a piece of peach pie. Oh man, peach pie. Let’s have some right now. Ala mode. With a cookie.
No, I’m making a smoothie. I put all the ingredients in and started at 1 on the variable speed dial. “Never start on speeds above 1.” And the bloody thing started churning. It was hypnotic. It was like a lava lamp. The mush slowly rotated; the dark particulate matter gradually disappeared. It was primal; it may very well be how God made the oceans.
It was vegan television.
I poured it into a glass.
I tasted it. I handed it to Tracy. She sipped it. “Needs a banana,” I said. She agreed. If you’re going to eat your vegetables, it’s good to have a banana with them. Bananas are the best fruit, unless peaches are. Or figs; I can’t wait for figs to be back in season. Or melons. Apricots. Those are certified by healthy by the National Board of Immortality. But they ain’t vegetables.
I put the banana in:
Better. I took the glass to my office and sipped as I worked. It grew on me. Tasty, even. I sipped it slowly; then I poured the rest of the pitcher into my glass. When I’d finished that, I made another batch, except I didn’t have any more apples, so I threw a plum in instead. (We have a long ton of plums, the result of someone’s unwise buying decisions. I am not at liberty to say who. Or whom. Andy would know.)
Oh boy, good vegetables again!
This morning I made another recipe, spinach and pineapple and mint. I’m not sure that was mint I put in there. Didn’t smell like mint. On the other hand, it had a square stem. Plus, I’m still breathing, so I guess it wasn’t a mushroom.
Four cups of spinach! I’m drinking four cups of spinach. I’ve probably destroyed all sorts of useful minerals. On the other hand, I’m one step closer to eternal life.
What will I do with all that time?
Beauty shots by Tracy Johnston
Marketing and tech usefulness by Michelle Mizera