Some of us don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. In my case, it’s because most vegetables do not taste like food to me. Some actually make me gag, others simply disgust me, and a few I can stand in some way. I usually put it this way: broccoli or cauliflower smell and taste like something I’d eat if I were starving on Naked & Afraid, unless there were snails available. Or rat kebabs. To all you vegans out there, congrats, you have a different palate than I do. I wonder what it would be like to eat a raw tomato and not come close to throwing up, or to smell cooked broccoli and still be hungry. How strange that must be, to put cooked carrots in one’s mouth by choice, and to like them. I guess I will never know. If my doctor forbade me all forms of meat for life, we’d go with bread and cheese. If I were forbidden cheese as well, the good news is I’d lose a lot of weight. The bad news is I’d come down with deficiency diseases, and my health would be worse than if I’d never changed.
There are people to whom cilantro tastes like soap. I think I have something like that with regard to cooked vegetables. It’s the only way I can explain how so many people will so willingly tuck into food that can ruin my appetite by just the smell.
As for fruits, I like most of them, but most are sugary and get my fingers all sticky. I’m a freak about that. Suppose I’m headed to the grocery store, and my bladder is at Code Orange, and I just sloshed pop on my fingers. Before using the store’s facility, I will wash the stickiness off my hands, though that means two hand washes. Now, if the fruit is dried…that is the stuff. Plantain chips, banana chips? Yes. Blueberries don’t leave much stickum on my fingers; long as they aren’t mushy, I’ll wolf them down. I love oranges, but they’re a lot of work to eat, which is too bad because I have an unerring eye for a delicious orange. I’m willing to work at the fruit thing in service of healthier eating.
A few days back, I bought some ‘dried’ apple chips. They weren’t really dried, as I reckon it. I would describe them as apple leather, not sticky but still not very appealing. So I got one of my harebrained ideas: what if I dried them out myself? If this worked, I could buy them in bulk, dry them out in bulk, and have chips that I would eat in preference to tortilla or potato chips. So utterly healthy!
My plan was to dry them out myself, next time I was in charge of foccacia. I am our household foccacia prep cook; it is my duty to select bread, slice it, season it, and crisp it appealingly to go with meals. I have it down pat. Twelve minutes at 400º F on a pizza pan with olive oil coating, and your bread is deliciously crispy. Since that is what I know, I just added a pan of not-really-dried apple pieces to that process. I assumed that in twelve minutes I would return to find my neatly dried, delicious apple chips.
Instead, in six minutes, I heard a feminine voice from the kitchen, advising me that my chips were burning. Didn’t quite charcoal them, but definitely seared them. Tried them anyway: tasted of burnt apple leather. I had never known this before, but burnt apple tastes awful. Unlike cheese, high heat does not help apples. They were still leathery, with a bouquet and hint of charcoal. Blech. I did a thing I so very rarely and grudgingly do: I threw away food.
I would have eaten them in preference to Brussels sprouts, I guess, but that isn’t really saying much, since I would eat the grass clippings from my yard in preference to Brussels sprouts. Sorry, Belgians.
I suppose doing this correctly involves lower heat and longer cooking, since it is now proven fact that at pizza temperatures (the only oven science I fully understand), apples burn.
When I’m in the kitchen, I always imagine Gordon Ramsay. “YEW DAWN-KEY! YEW STEW-PID COW! IT’S RAW! AH YOU TAKING THE PISS OUT OF ME, SEHVING THIS? YOU’LL KILL SOMEONE! GET IT THE [BLEEP] TOGETHAH!” I’m pretty sure that unless I’m making sandwiches (the famous Bricks) or chorizo chile (which everyone loves), Gordon would simply sit in the corner and bawl to watch me.
Perhaps the only way to learn to do anything right in the kitchen is to commit flagrant blunders, like this one.