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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

the seven year itch

I took a little break from cooking this weekend, and here is my excuse, Ma'am.

After my big day of cooking and grilling and cooking and baking and cooking and freezing, I was ready for a pretty low-key dinner the next day. I threw a pork tenderloin in the oven, and got out some lettuce to rinse for a salad.

As I rinsed it, I noticed there were some aphids. There weren't just a couple, but there weren't so many that I freaked out, either. Although I am pretty much a city girl, I get that there are bugs out there, and I get that they like to eat vegetables. I also understand that this produce is all organic, and that the presence of the pests just shows the lack of the pesticides. Okay, I get it. I can just wash the aphids away and move on.

Next, I got out some broccoli. Since two out of three kids won't eat salad, and since I want them to have a veggie with their meal, I decided to go with a tried-and-true steamed broccoli side dish.

I ran the broccoli under the water, placed it on my cutting board, and began to slice. Wait, is that an aphid? Why yes, it is! A broccoli-colored aphid that I hadn't noticed. I guess I had better clean the broccoli a little more carefully. As I put it back under the running water, I realized that the broccoli was. covered. with. aphids. I wish I had taken a picture of it, looking back, so I could show you that I am not exaggerating.  I just have to ask you to trust me, though. There were more aphids than broccoli. It was swarming with the little green suckers. I freaked out, wrapped the broccoli into a plastic bag, and threw it all away. And then spent the rest of the day scratching at phantom itches, as I imagined all the aphids crawling up my arms.

In defense of AHOrganics, who are the loyal provider of the vegetables (and the occasional stowaway bug), when I went to pick up my kids from school, I ran into a couple of friends who also subscribe to the AHO box. They explained to me that there had been an email that I had missed, accepting that the broccoli had escaped, aphid-laden and unnoticed, but that they were now aware of the problem. They promise to make up for it in the near future, and the farmer is working on his aphid problem.

I feel bad for the farmer. I am sure that this is a major setback for him. Organic farming can't be easy, and to have a crop harvested, sold, and distributed, only to be tossed out and to have to replace it later, must be discouraging. I imagine it's how I feel when I get dinner shopped for, cooked, and served... only to have the kids complain and to end up tossing their portions in the trash anyway, and to still have to go back and scrub pots and pans.

At any rate, whether I feel sorry for the farmer or not, I there were still imaginary aphids crawling up my arms, and I was ready for a vegetable break. A kitchen break, actually.

So I spent the weekend doing this:

And this:

And some of this:

Until the bugs sent me back into the safe haven of my house.