My parents made us eat our veggies, and it wasn’t just one serving of carrots that we’re talking about here when I say veggies. There were usually two or three vegetable dishes or lots of veggies mixed in with our meat and fish. For several years we had a garden maintained by my father that had all sorts of Filipino greens. I guess you could say this was one of the benefits of living in a tropical country; vegetables and fruits were readily available. All kind of squashes, beans, okra, Asian greens, eggplant, and others I don’t have English names for, we had to eat it all.
I had many clever ways of getting out of eating the green stuff, the slimy stuff and every other stuff in between. Every now and then I would take the veggies in my hand, yawn and stretch and throw it across the room. I am not even kidding. And I did this as a 12 or 13-year-old. I don’t know how I did not get caught. Other times if I had an empty chair pushed under the table next to me, I put the veggies on the seat, and our dog, Champ, would come and eat it because he was a veggie-eating dog. (He also bit my sister during one of these episodes; she must have been trying the same trick as well.)
There was a season when we had a vine growing on our calamansi tree, and this vine yielded wing beans. We had a mighty crop of wing beans, and it was the ever-present veggie at our lunch and dinner tables. The problem was that we (my sister and I) hated it. So one afternoon I decided that we were going to do something about this to keep the wing beans off our plates and out of our mouths. While my parents were napping, I convinced my sister to go out to the tree with me, and we plucked as many of the wing beans off the vine and threw them over the wall into – I guess – the neighbor’s yard.
We still marvel at our brilliant kid minds.
I can’t remember when I made the switch to becoming a veggie lover, but I’m there now, and I need, crave and love to eat my vegetables. But meat is still my first love, and often when I eat one of my all-vegetable meals, I feel shortchanged. This is not one of those meals. This Chard and White Bean Stew by Smitten Kitchen leaves me feeling wholly satisfied, and the taste. Oh it’s amazing. I actually think adding meat to this dish would ruin it.
- Chard and White Bean Stew (from Smitten Kitchen) I’ve made this dish so many times, I could make it with my eyes closed. It is easy to make, and the only reason why it takes 15 to 20 minutes to prepare is because you have to chop the shallots (I’ve used shallots and onions – I can’t tell the difference), carrots, celery and separate the green part of the chard from the white. I’ve never used white beans because I can’t find them at my Coop. Any kind of bean I’ve used has been more than fine. Make sure you use a good vegetable broth – I use Vegeta stock powder. The result is a simple, hearty, tasty stew, and we eat it with bread or sometimes over rice. It’s great with a poached egg but without one is also fine.