I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m not big on vegetables. Actually, “made no secret” might be a bit of an overstatement. I worry my parenting skills might be questioned (or a blood panel ordered) if I openly admitted exactly how lacking in vegetable expertise I am. Let’s just say, for sake of clarity, that I have an extremely limited palate.
And nothing makes that fact more glaringly apparent than a stroll through the Harris Teeter produce section.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of your garden variety (ha! see what I did there?) veggies on display. I’ve got a handle on the entire salad section – even I can spot lettuce, cucumbers, and carrots from a distance. Broccoli and cauliflower? Got those, too.
But then there are items that fall squarely in the mystery category.
Purple artichokes. Artichokes are admittedly a new(ish) one for me, but when I first stumbled across this purple clump of leaves I was a bit confused. Were they regular artichokes? Maybe they just weren’t ripe yet? Was I supposed to take them home and stick them in a bag?
Sugar beet. Okay, you know it’s a weird vegetable when you need the sign to clue you in. This looks like a blond carrot on steroids. What on earth?!
Ginger root. Like gnarled, knotted wood nymph hands, the ginger root lies like a long lost ingredient waiting for its recipe to come along.
Radicchio. Yeah. I didn’t know what the hell this thing was when I spotted it from across the aisle. Long, leafy, white and red with odd lines – it’s bizarrely ugly with those bulgy veins, yet the design is almost like a pretty leaf stain.
Rutabaga. To be fair I’d heard of this vegetable, but I couldn’t have picked it out of a lineup to save my life.
Fennel. Another one that was nowhere on my radar. It looks like an onion, sort of, with stalks and stems sprouting fernlike leaves.
Chicoree Angel Hair. Weird, green, weed-looking things. It’s some kind of leaf, I guess, but darned if I know what you’d do with it.
I’m betting the store recordings of that produce section would make for one hell of a blooper reel.