***Caution: If you like broccoli, and are rather squeamish when it comes to TMI about your food (like the way it is prepared or what hot dogs are actually made of), you might want to stop reading here.
We are so incredibly blessed that both of our dads like to garden -- and that they both love to share. It seems we nearly always have access to some kind of fresh fruit or veggies, especially in the spring.
My dad has probably the biggest garden he's ever had this season. The squash and blackberries are blooming, we've been eating lots of asaparagus, and the strawberries are finally slowing down after he spent a couple of weeks of picking 4-5 quarts per day.
The thing that's really in full swing right now though is the broccoli. Yummm-mmmy! I like broccoli because it is so good for you, my kids love it, and it's bright green goes looks so pretty on a plate (especially my blue ones!) next to nearly anything.
Dad brings it in in WalMart bags, and Mom washes it, soaks it, and then breaks it up into usable sized pieces to stick in the fridge, freeze, or give away. We've got a couple of bags of it in our fridge right now. And the cool thing is that Dad just picked it the other day. I don't have to really, really hurry to use it because it will last a little bit longer -- it didn't spend several days in a truck getting to the grocery store.
Most of you know our recent experience with The Stink and the discovery of the dead opposum. I'm a bit paranoid about smells in my kitchen right now. So when we started realizing that something in the kitchen smelled bad -- not too much unlike The Stink we thought we'd gotten rid of -- I began to worry.
I finally narrowed it down to the fridge. At first I thought the milk had gone bad, or maybe some leftovers...but no such luck. Then I decided that maybe it was just full of the old stinky air, and it might just take a few days to air out. I put some fresh baking soda in it, and began to cook dinner. Every time I opened it or even got close to it though, it was bad!
I was planning to make some of my old friend, Ruth Ann's yummy broccoli salad. So I pulled out a bag of broccoli, opened it, and along with the smell I found clarity washing over me. It was the broccoli that stunk!
Now nearly anyone will agree with you that broccoli does have an odor, especially as it cooks. I've never heard anyone talking about fresh broccoli stinking up a kitchen though. But still a little paranoid that the boys had drug in part of the dead opposum and stuck in my fridge, I called Mom. Sure enough, she had just dealt with the same thing, narrowed it down to the broccoli, then got it all blanched and in the freezer...and the smell was gone. It's crazy to think that we love to eat something that smells that bad!
So I started breaking the florets off the heads, picking through it very carefully. Because that's the other thing about fresh fruits and veggies straight from the garden -- sometimes you'll find a little bug that hung on a bit too tightly during the washing. We had eaten broccoli salad at Mom's and Dad's a few days before, and apparently in the rush to get it on the table in time for lunch, it hadn't soaked long enough. We found a few too many worms for my comfort. (I told you, if you're squeamish, stop reading!) Dad had a very valid point, though. "If you think about it, it's just digested broccoli." I guess he's right...fresh broccoli is not ruined for me.
So I continued to carefully pick through my stinky fresh broccoli, and sure enough, there were a couple of little worms. What better time for a bit of a science lesson?! I called the boys in, and they were fascinated -- but not at all grossed out.And Joey, of course didn't care. He sat there in the chair next to me and munched on it (the broccoli, not the worms!) the whole time.Then I turned on the TV for them so that the fighting I had been dealing with would (maybe) stop, and I could finish cooking. (Yes, I'm one of those kinds of moms.)
And then we all sat down for a healthy, home-cooked dinner with fresh, stinky, worm-free broccoli salad. (At least I think it was worm-free...we didn't find any more.) I'd love to say it was one of those rare and wonderful dinners where everyone cleaned their plates and had polite conversation. But I guess wormy science experiments during dinner preparation don't work miracles. No one ate the broccoli salad except for me and Bret, Joey used his dinner for hair gel instead of eating it, and Conner and Micah whined that they had water to drink instead of Coca-Cola. Ahhh...a sit-down family dinner. :)