Warning: This story contains a small portion of the truth and the rest is funny lies!
Can we talk? Oh, please say yes, because this has been a terrible problem for me. One that I have not been able to fix, solve or even deal with! Maybe I should start at the beginning..........
We were just a normal and noisy family living a simple life in Eureka California when I was a kid growing up. But what I thought was a simple lifestyle and the only life I knew, was really something more. You could say we were rogue, well OK, if not completely rogue, we were rogue-ish.
I say that because, as the other families on the block purchased most everything from the grocery store in perfectly packaged, brightly colored boxes, we had a fermenting crock in any corner that was available, pretty much stinking up the place!
When the neighbor lady made a salad, it was iceberg lettuce wedges, covered in something bright orange and called “French dressing”, we might have foraged watercress tossed in a hot bacon and tomato vinaigrette.
I have to admit though, I was a little jealous when they would pile into their car and go to A&W for floats. When we had floats we would open a bottle of homemade root beer, you know, one that had not exploded during the aging process! When Dad poured that root beer over homemade ice cream, I pretty much forgot about going to A&W.
Weekly the lady next door went to Safeway for vegetables, but we just went out back, and picked what we needed from the garden. We grew vegetables with funny names like kohlrabi and “Chinese snow peas”. Plus our family ate a lot of broccoli, and this was years and years before it became popular as crudites.
I have to tell you, all of that is great fun when you are a little kid, but then suddenly, the months slip by and you need to learn how to whistle. When that happens, being different is not fun anymore. Here you are, just a little kid that wants to whistle, like every other little kid in class. But you don't know how.
That night before dinner, something happened that was going to turn my life around! My Mom told me that if I ate my broccoli, I would learn to whistle. I was amazed, from then on, each time we had broccoli for dinner I ate mine, with gusto. After the table was cleared and the dishes were washed, I was free to go outside and play.
Instead you would find me out back on the porch, puckering and practicing, hoping the magic of broccoli would take place. I was working so hard at puckering and practicing that before I knew it, bedtime had rolled around. When I was called in to get ready for bed, I was bone dry from all that puckering and practice!
Then before you knew it, broccoli was once again being served for dinner. I would eat, help with the dishes and go out back, for more puckering and practicing. When I was called in to get ready for bed, the magic was nowhere to be heard.
This went on for a few months with complete and utter dedication. And each time sadly, disappointment followed me into the house. When autumn turned to winter and it was now too cold to go outside after dinner, I realized something else.
My Mom lied to me!
Eating broccoli does not help you learn to whistle!
I was shattered! I had been eating broccoli for nothing! I still did not know how to whistle. I did the only thing a little kid can do. I gave up. Yes, I gave up and never mentioned it again. I was too ashamed. I was the only kid in my class that could not whistle.
Then one day many years later, I found a wonderful support group. A group of folks filled with kindness, understanding and patience. A structured program that was respectful, while providing an open forum, to express your pain. This group met on the fifth Thursday of every month, following a full moon rising. The day of the meeting, I was so happy. I would finally be able to free myself of shame.
And now, this is my story.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you all very much for coming”, said the moderator.
“Let’s go around the room shall we?”
“And tonight as we introduce ourselves, share a snippet of your reason for being here”.
“Please don’t be shy, remember you are among friends”.
Everyone spoke, as we circled the room until, it was (finally!) my turn…………..
Hello, my name is Melynda,
When I was a little girl, my Mother lied to me about broccoli. She said if I ate my broccoli, I would be able to whistle.
(big silence………………….)Oh,…and how did that make you feel?
I don’t know, but I ate a lot of broccoli and I still can’t whistle!
Melynda, how can we help you today?
I don’t need any help, I just can’t whistle, and I sure would like too.
You know, they didn’t ask me to leave, but they didn’t offer me any coffee either.
Geez, now what? Whistle a little tune to cheer up, not likely. Hey wait a minute, is that broccoli your serving? Did I tell you, I really like broccoli? Would you mind passing some over this way? I think I am going to give this just one more try!
It is true my Mom told me that if I ate my broccoli, I would learn to whistle. And it is also true that I ate a lot of it, and yes I still cannot whistle!
Broccoli Sauce for Pasta
adapted from: Home Cooking, a writer in the kitchen
by Laurie Colwin
1 large head of broccoli OR 16 oz package broccoli florets
2 cloves garlic
1/3 c olive oil, plus more for blending as needed
1/2 t salt or to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste
4 oz whole wheat penne - cooked and kept warm
Cut the head of broccoli into florets, wash, place in the bottom of a shallow pan. Add 1/2 c water, cover and cook until crisp tender - do not overcook.
Drain water, select and remove 5 florets, set aside for garnish.
Add 1/3 c olive oil to pan and saute the broccoli and garlic until tender.
Spoon into food processor, including the oil from the pan. Squeeze lemon into processor, 1/2 t salt and fresh pepper to taste. Process until smooth, adding olive oil to make consistent for tossing with pasta. Taste and adjust seasoning to preference.
Take the five florets, slice in half. Saute in small amount of olive oil, cut side down until golden brown.
To serve, toss hot pasta with broccoli sauce and 1/2 c Parmesan cheese.
Arrange on serving platter, arranging sauteed florets over top. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Enjoy.
A garnish of roasted and chopped walnuts would add just the right touch, I will save that for next time.
As always, thanks so much for stopping by, I enjoy your visiting so much!
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