Wednesday, January 27, 2010


So, today I was in the co-op and I was standing in front of the vegetable racks, and I turned to the left and saw a woman I knew sitting at the table by the window. She's a nice woman, though pretty reserved, and I greeted her and then immediately said, "You know, I worry a lot about vegetables." The woman I know mumbled something about meat, and I was about to launch into some sort of lengthy explanation when I saw someone else--not someone I knew, mind you, but someone I had often seen pictures of on Facebook--which means of course I had to introduce myself and explain that I only Facebook-knew her, but that I was friends with Melanie and Jesse, etc. By the time I had finished with that poor woman, the other woman had packed up and ran away, because she's right: I am an insane extrovert and am best avoided. Or as my sister Allison says, "Uncool, Jessie. You are uncool."


So, back to what I was saying about vegetables. Motherhood has turned me into one of those nutjobs who fixate on nutrients. I am In Charge of Food in my house. If I were not here to buy and prepare food, my family would probably eat egg sandwiches with pickles on cinnamon raisin bagels for every meal, every day of the week. But since Odessa started eating regular human food, I have begun to agonize over vegetables--I will drive to the store at sorority rush hour (which is 32% more aggravating than regular rush hour), as I did today, to get tomato and avocado to put on the veggie burgers I made for dinner, knowing full well Odessa's just going to spit this $1.69 avocado out on the tray of her high chair and then wipe it off onto the floor, where Ruby will come along and lick it up and then spit it back out again, and then I'm going to have to come along sponge it up off the linoleum tomorrow morning. It makes no difference. I am compelled to buy the vegetables so that my family can abuse them.

My own sainted mother struggled with vegetable anxiety herself when I was young. I remember her pleading with me at 15 to please, please, please just eat a couple of bites of her inexpertly boiled broccoli (sorry, Ma, it had to be said), and my response was to give her a look that bespoke, "Woman, would you mind your own damn business?"

No, she couldn't mind her own business. Because vegetables are Mama's business.

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