Thursday, August 30, 2007

Absolute Write Blogchain #10

This also is my first time in a blogchain. It reminds me of the game we used to play as kids where someone would whisper a sentence or two in someone else's ear and so on. Ten people later, the end result would be hysterical. (I know ... I'm stating the obvious.)

I'm going to stick mostly with the food theme. Several years ago, my wife and I adopted three girls from Cambodia. Both of us are fresh-vegetable fanatics, and we've passed that along to our children, though I suppose they already had inherited it from their native country, where rice and fresh vegetables were staples of their diet.

Not everything is great about living in South Carolina, but there are plenty of places to get excellent organic vegetables. We are members of a Clemson University co-op, and once a week we pick up whatever is in season. My personal favorite is fresh tomatoes, but our family loves pretty much everything grown in the ground.

My kids will eat as much as you put in front of them: mountains of rice and plates full of healthy stir-fries. I make what our family calls shrimp stew: shrimp, tomatoes, carrots, corn, broccoli, greens, yellow squash, zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, and onions stir-fried with tamari and served with crusty bread.

We also frequent a farmer's market held every Thursday in a quaint little town square surrounded by ancient oaks. The vegetables are excellent, as well as the crafts, and the tomato-eating contests are hysterical. Once you've eaten fresh-grown tomatoes, the ones from the grocery story taste like wet cardboard.

I'm glad that my daughters aren't picky eaters. Picky eaters annoy me more than they should. How can people consider themselves truly rounded if they don't eat a variety of healthy foods? It's like saying you're well-read when all you read is the Sunday comics. Maybe picky eating is inherited? If so, I apologize. Regardless, you're missing out big-time if you don't like fresh vegetables.

That's not to say that I always eat well. When you live in the deep south, it's almost impossible for a meat-eater to resist barbecue, fried chicken, etc. And I'm the type who has to eat pizza at least once a week. For some reason, though, a large percentage of South Carolinians live amazingly long lives. My wife's mom is 91 and still living comfortably on her own. Heck, I'd take 80 in a heartbeat!

Up next, appropriately, is a food expert!


Midnight Muse said...

Okay, forget the smoked salmon, now I want stir fry for dinner!

Thanks to some food allergies, my sister and I sometimes feel like we're being picky eaters - but if we had our way, we'd eat everything (or at least try it once!) But I have one neice who will try anything and everything at least one time. Her reasoning is: I might like it.

I applaud her :)

Jim Melvin said...

Ha! I applaud her, too. However, I realize that we all have our quirks. I certainly have mine. It's just that picky eating isn't one of them.

Lynn said...

I was a picky eater. So picky in fact, that I weighed 110 pounds when I graduated high school. I was (and still am) 5 feet 9 inches tall. As soon as I learned to love cooking, I became a lot more enamored with food.

My 10 year old is very picky, but my 5 year old loves food. He's terrific and has a willing spirit about trying new foods.

Dan said...

I was never a picky eater, but there were always a lot of things I didn't eat. I can't say I was picky because I ate some pretty nasty stuff (like Big Mac's) that I wouldn't dare eat today.

Luckily, my wife came along and changed all that. Of course, she also spoiled me on home cookin' too.

Jim Melvin said...

I was skinny in high school too (6-0, 130 pounds), but definitely not from a lack of eating. It wasn't until my mid-30s that I started to gain weight (mainly in the dreaded stomach area) and had to watch what I eat and, more importantly, when I eat.
As for home cooking, I love it, but I also love to eat out -- especially at lunch time. I spend way too much money in restaurants.

Kappa no He said...

Picky eaters annoy me too. Especially when they are adults. I don't know why this is but unless it is something truly weird then why not try it?

That shrimp stew sounds amazing by the way!

Virginia Lee said...

Hey neighbor! *waves from NC to her fellow ACCer even if he is affiliated to some extent with Clemson*


Anyhoo, I love that your kids love veggies. My mom had a husband who hated veggies for the most part and her youngest, moi, didn't like anything but broccoli, tomatoes, green beans and lettuce. To this day she gets a kick out of me beginning to cook anything with a mirepoix, which I do with some frequency.

So, you a big supporter of ACC basketball or what? :P

Jim Melvin said...

Though I now live in Clemson, I'm actually a lifelong Florida State fan. But I'm much more of a football fan than basketball fan (especially since FSU has rarely been much good at hoops). Are you a Tar Heel?

Jim Melvin said...

And yes, the shrimp stew is great, once you get your own preferences for seasoning down pat. The Tamari takes care of the salt, of course. The garlic and tomatoes sweeten the natural broth. Add some black pepper, cayenne if you like some kick. Man, is it good. And about the healthiest thing you can eat.

Cath said...

I confess to being a picky eater - although it's partly allergies with me too.

It's the smell of food that puts me off - especially when my asthma's playing up. When it's especially bad, strong smelling food, like oranges, smell totally repulsive.

I guess we retain our memory of smell too.

Anyway, I'm going to go stick a clothespeg on my nose and try something new. :)

Jim Melvin said...

The sense of smell plays such a huge role in eating, I can see where something like asthma would really wreak havoc with your appetite.


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About Me

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Clemson, SC, United States
I was born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., but grew up in St. Petersburg, Fla. I graduated from the University of South Florida (Tampa) in 1979 with a B.A. in Journalism. I now live in South Carolina near the Blue Ridge Mountains, a pleasant setting for writing, to say the least. I was an award-winning journalist at the St. Petersburg Times for twenty-five years and I currently work at the Charlotte Observer. I am married with five daughters.

The author

The author
Jim Melvin, a veteran journalist, debuts as novelist.