Growing up, I wasn't the child that minded eating her veggies, but when it came to one in particular, I could sense its evil, slimy presence lurking — waiting to induce horrible gagging noises, a stuck-out tongue, and a ridiculous amount of whining. Summer squash and zuchini, I'm looking at you!
My parents preferred their vegetables well-done and cooked through, which was fabulous for bringing out the flavors of many of my favorites, but when it came to summer squash and zucchini, I would have rather eaten worms. Seriously — like night crawlers.
My parents, however, loved squash, and they found their way into nightly stir-fries, baked casseroles, breakfast hashes, and more. They. Were. Everywhere. There may or may not have been a time that I was told to sit at the table until I cleaned my plate and refused to move for the next eight hours because I loathed them so very much.
Then something changed. To wax poetically about the time I first encountered fried zucchini would be a sad tale, as it didn't exactly involve any culinary revolution. I mean, unless you count eating at Red Robin gourmet. A friend ordered them, and in my mind I made all those yucky faces and noises from my childhood but outwardly said, meekly, "Sure, that sounds like a great appetizer." Gross. What was I getting myself into? Then they arrived and they didn't have the same mushy texture and weepy appearance that the slices of my youth had. Curiosity got the better of me and I took a bite. They were firm yet soft, dry yet moist (yes, moist, though it's well-documented everyone hates that word), and had this amazing crunchy exterior. I was sold.
Since then I realized that the rest of the world has been enjoying these tasty summer treats for years and I was the only one who had been missing out. In fact, when I say, "We're out of vegetables!" as I examine the contents of the refrigerator, I often hear my husband from the other room say, "No dear, we're just out of squash!" Sliced, diced, grilled, sautéed — please, just keep it coming!
Curse that repeated overcooked, mushy experience that denied me for so many years. Now if only I could get behind snow peas, we'd be in business! Is there a food that you turned your nose up at when you were younger and now simply adore?