Thursday, February 02, 2006

No Brassica!

Mr. McGee and I are planning our spring garden, which will for the first time this year feature actual vegetables. We're super-excited about this undertaking, so we spend a lot of time flipping through gardening catalogs, looking at the freakish things people can do to vegetables, like turn carrots purple. And turn potatoes purple. And turn tomatoes purple. Basically, turn anything edible purple.

So we're watching American Idol and flipping through catalogs, and Mr. McGee leans over and shows me a tender, tasty-looking veggie named "Asian Greens." I agree this looks yummy -- and then I catch a glimpse of the scientific name.

"THAT'S A CABBAGE!" I shout at him. "You can't fool me! That's a CABBAGE! NO CABBAGES!"

"What? That's an 'Asian Green,' not a cabbage," says a puzzled Mr. McGee.

I have read so many gardening books that I have now learned by osmosis that the scientific name of the cabbage family is Brassica, and this plant was called Brassica Something-or-other. "NO BRASSICA!" I reiterated in a frantic voice wholly unsuited to the discussion of hypothetical vegetables.

"What the hell is brassica?"

"Cabbages! CABBAGES IS BRASSICA!" (said in the "soylent greens are people" voice of the wholesale terror that comes only from terrible, terrible knowledge of the truth.)

Brassica is tolerable in flower format (broccoli and cauliflower) or in root/bulb format (kohlrabi and rutabaga), but the leaves of brassica are DISGUSTING, whether they're cabbage or bok choi or kale or collards. Kale is moderately tolerable when it's a) thoroughly wilted and b) mixed in a dish where it comprises no more than 1/3 of the dish and there is liquor involved (either in the dish itself or in me eating it). But that is the ONLY circumstance under which the leaves of brassica are edible.

So no. NO BRASSICA LEAVES in my garden, no matter what pretty names they give it. "Asian Greens" my ass. That's a CABBAGE.

(And I bet you didn't know that rutabaga, kohlrabi, turnip, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, bok choi, brussels sprouts, rapeseed oil, canola oil, mustard greens, and, yes, cabbage all come from more or less the same plant. Kale, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbages, and kohlrabi all actually come from the same species, Brassica oleracea. Also, you should go buy kohlrabi because a) it's tasty and b) it looks like alien food which practically guarantees your children will eat it.)

1 comment:

Snarkelicious said...

Eyebrows...do ever get a sinking suspicion, a spidey-sense type of sensation that, maybe, just maybe, you know too much for your own good?

It's like the Easter thing...like you should start your post with, "Well, you know, Norm..."

Once again, I bow to your amazing knowledge of the arcane.