Digging around in the garden, today, I had to run into the house to look up a stunning fact. Here it is: Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year, approximately 1.3 billion tons, is wasted. But here’s the hitch — The Food and Agricultural Association claims:
- Fruits and vegetables, plus roots and tubers have the highest wastage rates of any food.
Fruits and veggies top out the list, not grains, dairy, meat and legumes. It’s the perishables that contribute to (in this country) the over 33 million tons of food each year that ends up in the landfill.
I posit that much of it is ugly veggies, like ours.
This time of year, the veggies in our garden are downright repulsive.
The ceaseless rain and a recent freeze, has waterlogged the cauliflower.
Thanks to a few thousand slugs that share the land with us, the slender kale has holes in it.
The finger potatoes and sun chokes cling to the sodden earth like black clods of nutritious grit.
Never fear, friends, just lower your standards, and don’t let your ugly veggies get you down. They’re still food. Hideously delicious food.
Gone are the days of showing off our succulent crops in beautiful baskets on long lost sunny afternoons. No, tonight’s dinner was wrestled free from the muck and slime of a New Year’s dark garden of primal growth that only the diehard will eat. We eat the foul-looking foodstuffs because snubbing our nose at them would contribute to the EPA’s wasted food bottom line. No, we’ll whip up dishes from weird days where clouds and wet shadows prevail over the sheepish sunlight.
We triumph, quietly, when the kids eat the ugly veggies.
So, why be ashamed of the slug holes and dark spots on your rotting heads of cauliflower or snail-slimed leaves of kale when you hear this confession and bear witness to our homely ingredients? Embrace your ugly veggies. They’re food after all.
No one’s watching. No one’s comparing their Instagram-perfect patches of deep solstice greens with yours. Bon appetit! Go ahead, share your vile veggies with the fates that befall all winter gardens. Welcome them into your kitchen, unsightly as they are.
We eat our ugly veggies with pride. How about you?