May. 7th, 2012

rickps: (Cafe Rick - 11/08)
Note to the one or two who still foolishly look for LJ posts from me – After an extended hiatus, the urge to fill bandwidth with my ramblings has come upon me once again. My master plan is to post something each week. But no promises!

As a kid, I was darn picky when it came to food. My mother was, shall we say, not the greatest cook. On steak night, Mom would insist on broiling the steak we’d eat at the highest shelf of the broiler. Of course, the steak would curl from the heat, a fact that she never seemed to realize. When she’d yank the broiler drawer open, the steak would be shoved off the back of the broiler pan into the innards of the oven. She’d scream for my father, Alfred, and he’d rescue the now dust covered meat. And so it became a ritual, I’d know our steak dinner was ready whenever I heard “Al!” yelled at the top of my mother’s lungs.

But I diverge… Picky foodage. I loved hamburgers but getting one with cheese on top was an affront to society. But when it came to grilled cheese sandwiches, which I loved beyond measure, the more cheese, the better! Bread, bread, and more bread! Living down the street from a real Jewish bakery, the smell of fresh rye to this day makes me drool. And then there were vegetables… Peas, carrots and corn were just fine. I recall thinking that you could tell how good they were because of their bright merry colors. Beans on the other hand were devil’s spawn. It didn’t matter if they were green, lima, pinto, they were all horrendous and guaranteed to make me gag. Given a plate of mixed vegetables, I’d pick out the ones I liked and leave a sizable mound of rejects. My frugal father would sigh heavily and make reference to his depression era childhood when “we were happy to have food on our table”.

And so it was into my teen and college years. Bean free and damn proud of it. I gave in and allowed cheese on my burger but that was the limit of my willingness to compromise. So there! Then, my second job after getting out of college was in lower Manhattan, a short stroll from Chinatown. I’d never been big on Chinese food either (it looked weird and had odd tastes) but then my co-workers dragged me into one of the many Chinese eateries and I found heaven on a plate. I still wasn’t about to eat anything I couldn’t clearly identify but present something yummy on a bed of rice and I was happy beyond words. I was thunderstruck one day to discover that I was relishing the taste of green beans! Yes, my wall of purity had been breached. I’d order entrees because they featured green beans as a key component. My profligate lifestyle had its limits though. A lima bean still had the look of alien origin. And don’t, DON’T get me onto brussel sprouts, ever.

Once the floodgates were opened, other vegetables snuck down my gullet. Broccoli, squash, and more were coveted. Where would it stop??

It stopped here in San Diego. For reasons I have yet to comprehend, you cannot find a green bean. Go to your local supermarket and there may be a lonely package or two in the freezer section but that’s about it. Choose a mixed veggie side order at the diner and every veggie you can name arrives except green beans. Is there a bean ban in SoCal, gotta wonder.

And so, here I am, living in the bottom left hand corner of the US, green bean challenged. Sad, so sad.


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November 2013

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