Vegetables are in the zeitgeist. Pro-vegetable articles are popping up all over, like this one
and this one
. It seems like some people—a vocal minority?—are really starting to embrace Michael Pollan's edict to "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Actually, I'm not so sure about the "not too much" part. We Americans are all about plenty; a surfeit, even. But look, a ton o' vegetables is still a whole lot healthier than a ton o' beef. And I think I'll just take this opportunity to say once more, and probably not for the last time, I loathe
the non-word "veggies." As if somehow you're going to make them what, more palatable? more cute? more friendly? Please. Just do me the great favor of honoring them with their lovely and true name: vegetable. Anyhoo. Eating lots of vegetables is always pretty easy during the warm months, when fresh tomatoes and corn and summer squash and lettuces and herbs are so plentiful, but what about now, as the farmers markets begin to dwindle down to a more paltry selection of onions, squash and the like? I feel a teensy bit smug knowing that my freezer is stocked with bags of local blackberries, freshly shucked corn and homemade tomato sauce. We can easily pop into the grocery store for hydroponic greens and grapes from Chile, but I urge you not to abandon seasonal eating quite so readily. Look again: local cabbage, celeriac, sweet potatoes, leeks, carrots, rutabagas, garlic, kale, collards, beets, turnips. And of course, there are always dried grains and legumes like lentils, chickpeas, barley, wild rice, buckwheat groats (kasha
, to you Jews out there), farro, quinoa, brown rice, polenta and all manner of pasta. As well as a slew of nuts, seeds and dried fruits and spices to zhush it all up. The reality is, once you stop thinking of animal protein as the center of every meal, a whole gorgeous world of possibility crops (no pun intended) up.