Friday, July 12, 2013

Life's Green Messes: Part I

Yesterday morning I e-chatted with a writing colleague. In my closing comment I indicated that we hoped things were well in her world. She responded that in her world she was being given lots of fodder for writing, and how was that for a positive spin on things!

Chuckling, I quickly replied that I appreciated her cheery outlook and further hoped whatever had landed on her plate didn't look too much like over-steamed spinach (don't ask where that came from).

Since we mentioned the idea of over-steamed spinach, I'd like to tell you a story about my first encounter with spinach when I was a little girl.

Now, we probably agree that spinach, in its natural state, with its shiny, deep green leaves is a lovely vegetable. But that was not what I saw that day. Rather, there upon my plate was a pile of green, slimy stuff. Such a thing had never sat upon my plate before. Believe me, if I would have had a choice I would not have added one spoonful to my plate. But, there I was....

A young guest with my family at our hostess's supper table, my blond head just peeking over the table top, right in full view of the green blob now plopped on my plate by the hostess's daughter. I don't think my mom would have given me any, I think she was looking a little worried about it too. But, now that it was on my plate, it meant I'd have to eat it.

For Hostess's Daughter was bound and determined this youngster was not leaving the table without trying some. Well, that five or six year old was having nothing to do with it, even if Popeye ate it. Not that green mess. And as any parent knows, a five or six year old can oft be as determined as anyone, and clamping her mouth shut, she was eventually allowed to leave the table with the spinach uneaten.

After that I just ignored cooked spinach. The mere mention of it, even years later, made me shudder.  Then I married Rick, who loves all kinds of steamed greens like Swiss chard and beet tops. So I'd steam these leafy vegetables for him and when he'd offer me some, I'd just say no thanks. One day, Rick's sister told me how she liked to eat steamed spinach.

How to make steamed spinach more palatable

1. Use Peanut Sauce. That was my sis-in-law's secret ingredient. Pour a little peanut sauce (the kind you use for Thai food) over the leaves once they're steamed. Oh yes, that turned a plate of greens into something quite tasty.

2. Steam It Gently. I discovered this through trial and error (we didn't have Google in those days). Don't steam it to death. I used to steam it until all the lovely leaves were a green puddle. Just a few short moments, just till it barely wilts. That's all. That certainly helped it look more appetizing than that compost-like glob it used to turn into.

3. Add Some Garlic. Oh yes, garlic improves almost anything. A little crushed garlic, a sprinkle of salt, and a dollop of olive oil.  Toss over the greens... now that's heavenly!

So there you have it -- life at the dinner table more palatable. even with steamed spinach and other 'green' things that land on your plate.

Wishing you a day that has some nice green things...


P.S. I've written a post on how I make some of life's other green messes more palatable. Check out Part II here


  1. I vaguely remember that meal...steamed greens of any kind definitely do not appear on my plate, ever! Kudos to you for your bravery :)

    On the subject of bringing order out of chaos and dealing with the hard things in our lives, may I suggest a book by Dr. Caroline Leaf called "Who Switched Off My Brain?". She's addressing the issue of toxicity that comes from negative thinking and how to reduce or eliminate it from our lives. I'm re-reading for the second time, and finding the information she shares most enlightening!

    1. Thanks Kathy! I need to get a copy of that book you're reading...for the second time.

  2. I have never tried either of those two ways of eating steamed spinach (which I like anyway), but I will be in the future!

    And I'm longing forward to reading Part II.

  3. Hi Brenda, I really enjoyed your post today. How true! I remember years ago a young teenage friend of mine was going through a rough patch. She was only 17, her mother was disabled, they had lost their home and she was having to work full time to keep the family going. One day I hugged her tight and said that I was sorry that life had to be so difficult for her. She gave me a sweet smile and with tears in her eyes said, "It's all going to be okay, because now I will have stories to tell just like you Delisa!" How that touched my heart. Her dear words have comforted me a hundred times and given me something to try and live up to. When it comes to writing, experiences good and bad, are fuel to our flames. Have a lovely evening ahead! With Love, Delisa :)

  4. Life lessons in palatable form...excellent!

  5. vinegar works! interesting analogy to using all that life hands us to become better!

  6. Oh, I enjoyed reading about spinach this morning! I am not a "power of positive thinking" person, but I heartily believe that we can see God's hand in ALL of His gifts to us...even those gifts that we wouldn't really ask for. Like the blob of spinach. His hand is always at work. And that is a joyful thought!

    Thank you for stopping by and leaving your kind and gentle words.

  7. I love spinach now, but my first experience was something like yours, and I don't think I started eating it again until I was in my thirties!

  8. As the one who is receiving much fodder for future writing, I enjoyed your spinach analogy, Brenda. In the past I saw the chaos and crisis in life as your mush of wilted spinach - unpalatable, unbearable, and a reason to feel sorry for myself.

    You add garlic and olive oil to your steamed spinach. Scripture tells me to do the same. Seasoning my life experiences with prayer, insight from the Holy Spirit, and active leaning on the promises of God takes my chaos to a place where I actually do find myself thanking our Lord IN the situation. It's in the struggle that I feel wonderfully close to him - like the all ecompassing hug a crying child receives when she runs to her parent for help.

    Thanks for adding more perspective to my little comment. I enjoyed thinking it through further. :)


  9. Can't say that I would be very excited about trying that blob of spinach either!.(but have learned to like it raw and fresh from the garden!) Interesting how dramatic our childhood experiences can be. Will enjoy reading how you have learned to turn other things that have landed on your plate into the more beautiful and palatable.


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo