Gardening season has sprouted, which means there will be plenty of fresh vegetables soon.

It’s horrible.

I’m not against healthy eating, it’s just that dining on what’s good for me is, to use a scientific term, yucky.

Do-gooder nutritionists claim we need lots of fresh veggies, preferably eaten raw. They might have science on their side, but I have flavor on mine.

My sweet wife made the mistake of listening to the voices of experts over mine. So she picked up a dozen cartons of Brussels sprouts. For my health. They about killed me.

I don’t know how many different ways you’ve had Brussels sprouts but we didn’t discover a single one that would replace the natural goodness of dark chocolate cake loaded with a couple inches of peanut butter icing.

One night as Terry pulled another pan of roasted Brussels sprouts out of the oven, I dropped to the floor and beat my fists, feet and head on the linoleum. “No, no, no, NO! I’m a grownup!” I wailed. “You can’t make me eat more vegetables!”

“Burton William, stop that this instant or I won’t let you have any Brussels sprouts pie. Now shut up and drink your Brussels sprout milkshake.”

She’s tough.

Green beans are my favorite vegetable, which is surprising considering how they grieved me when I was a kid. Every morning, we had to trudge to the garden to pick MORE stupid green beans. If there’s anything that multiplies faster than green beans, including rabbits, I don’t know what it is. Zucchini comes close.

Zucchini is planted as a practical joke. The rest of us lock our doors when the harvest comes in or some crazed gardener will sling three or four sacks of the things inside your house and run. Opening your front door to a box of foisted-off zucchini on your front porch is the only thing worse than finding a flaming paper bag when you answer the doorbell on Halloween night.

“I don’t get it,” Terry said. “You grew up on a farm. Your mother canned hundreds of jars of produce from your gardens. How can you act like vegetables are so foreign?”

Easily. We solved most of our savor problems with sugar. Sugar wasn’t a bad thing back then.

We covered tomato slices in sugar. We layered sugar on cottage cheese. We ate bowls of white rice with milk and sugar. Even better, Mom made lots of homemade pudding, which we’d eat hot off the stove, doused in milk and sugar.

“But ... but ...” Terry stammered. “Pudding already is milk and sugar.”

“Yep,” I said. “It sure beat cucumbers and radishes. And we were as skinny as rake handles. I didn’t expand to this, uh, stoutness until I grew up and was forced to eat healthy foods.”

“Or maybe,” Terry said, “you stayed thin because you lived and played on a working farm before cable TV, the internet and video games. Baling hay, mucking stalls and chasing escaped cows burns tons more calories than lounging in your easy chair.”

She might have a point, but why risk eating more vegetables? If your garden grows a bumper crop this year, keep it to yourself. I only have one more case of Brussels sprouts ice cream to choke down before we eat real food again.


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