I am having a love affair and, I’m happy to report it is a healthy relationship!
I had a memory surface yesterday as I played with my food… when I was in junior high, I ate school lunch, as did most of my friends. I remember that one day, we carried our trays to our table and they chatted about the horridness of this alien-like white vegetable that had been clunked in the middle square of the lower row of our trays. I watched the raw, tightly compressed “poof” of white wobble as I walked and listened to their utter disgust…
“Ugh! I hate cauliflower! My mom makes us eat it with…”
“It stinks so bad when my mom cooks it…”
Their complaints carried on for some time and I was intrigued. I had never eaten cauliflower and, given the fascination with its design that I could feel radiating through the memory, there’s a really good chance I had never paid it visual attention while in the grocery store.
Our trays clink-clunked down upon the tabletop and they all turned their trays, with contempt, so that the offending vegetable was as far away from them as possible.
“What does it taste like?” I asked quietly.
They all stared at me like I had come from Planet Cauliflower.
“You’ve never eaten cauliflower?!” My friend’s shock rang through her voice.
I suddenly felt foreign and “bad” for never having eaten the supposedly offensive vegetables and shook my head slowly.
The table erupted in gasps of judgment. One of them dared me to eat it. I suddenly felt like I was going to be kicked out of the club for having not successfully gone through a right of passage, so I took that dare, expecting all the while to die from the experience of eating the abhorrent thing.
I gingerly picked up one floret, holding it cautiously with my index finger and thumb. I brought it close to my face and stared at it. It was intriguing – compacted tightly together and so sturdy. It didn’t smell delicious, but I’m willing to try pretty much anything once, so I put it to my lips. The bumpy-grainy surface of it was cold to the touch and felt curious against my mouth. I opened my mouth, closed my eyes and prayed I’d make it through the ordeal. I bit through the firmness with a satisfying and resounding crunch! sensation and began to chew.
My eyes grew wide and my friends leaned forward. I could sense they were awaiting my confirmation of their judgment.
But I couldn’t.
It was delightful!
“I don’t know what you guys are talking about. Cauliflower is yummy!”
They all groaned and I suddenly didn’t care if they kicked me out of the club… I was in love!
To this day, cauliflower and I have a beautiful relationship. I prefer it in the raw and delight, every single time, in the satisfactory experience of its crunchiness. Of all the vegetables I’ve tried in my life, cauliflower is my favorite. I appreciate it for the sensory experience and, since that fateful, daring day, have come to appreciate it for its incredible health benefits… it’s a great in supporting detox, it’s an antioxidant, as well as an anti-inflammatory and is an excellent source of both vitamin C & K.
I felt happy, as I separated the florets into bite-size pieces and the memory washed over me. I laughed when I realized that my love affair with cauliflower had begun on a dare. It is a dare that I’m grateful I embarked upon.