Sunday, June 24, 2012
Back in my teenage years (when I was the last child at home) my Dad worked out of town and was only home on the weekends. Since my Mom worked on Saturdays, Dad would do the weekly shopping. Mom and I would make a detailed list for him to work from. Sometimes I would go with him, other times not. He always got everything on our list, but he was prone to find it incomplete so there were always a few (mostly pleasant) surprises. These usually came from the produce department. Dad was raised on a farm and worked his way through grad school as produce manager for a grocery market. A teacher, he spent his summers working in orchards as a fruit inspector. So the surprise items often were fresh fruit at it prime, or high quality vegetables. He knew good stuff, but he didn't always know the tastes of the two women he was shopping for.
Once, for a period of several weeks, he got on a "cauliflower kick." Every week a cauliflower would show up in the shopping bag. Even if we cooked it when he was home, three people wouldn't finish one at a meal--especially when two of them weren't wild about cauliflower. We tried hints, but he was immune to them. We tried having a bit left in the fridge when he got home the following Friday, he seemed not to notice. I tried diverting his attention when I shopped with him, but we'd get home and there it would be.
After a month of this, Mom didn't cook the cauliflower on the weekend. She wrapped it tightly and stuffed it in the back of the fridge. There it stayed until Friday morning. She pulled it out and tossed it off the back porch in to the center of the lawn. Her instructions to me were, "Don't touch it. Let's hope the squirrels leave it alone until he gets home."
Apparently the squirrels and other backyard creatures weren't partial to the dreaded vegetable and it was still there when Dad got home. When I got home from school, he led me to the porch, pointed to the blob of white and asked, "What happened here?"
"Uh,er, Mom got tired of cauliflower." I didn't mention that Mom always was tired of cauliflower. Nor did I say how much I loathed the stuff. I just stood there and watched the lesson sink in.
We never had cauliflower again.