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