June 29, 2008

The Antichrist of Chenopodiaceae

Swiss Chard. Animal? Vegetable? Mineral?... Satanic force sent up from the underworld to torture us nutritionally?

For the past 3 months, this mysterious and elusive plant has been growing (or perhaps I should say parasitically sucking the blood of the earth) in our vegetable garden and creeping, uninvited, into normal, everyday conversation. When it's referred to by either Danielle or I, it's name is usually accompanied by what can only be called a "smush-faced" reaction and usually the word "YUCK". My dad just sighs before he says the name... however, it has completely taken over my mom's conscious mind. Maybe even her unconscious mind. If you're ever at our house when the topic of dinner (or lunch, for that matter... or breakfast) comes up, chances are that you'll hear some mutterings of various meal plans by the saner occupants of our family, ineffably followed by, "We should have it with SWISS CHARD!" cried out by my mother.

I'm not sure why she wanted to grow it so badly (it was her idea to invite the devil spawn into our lives) but believe me when I tell you that, as much as she "loves" it, she HASN'T EVEN TRIED IT. That's the scary part. God knows what will happen after it's entered her blood stream.

Now, honestly, I like spinach... it goes good in omelettes, salad, etc. Many things. It's not too thick or stringy - I like it.
Swiss Chard, however, is like a sick, leafy, bitter, hybrid of the worst, most veiny parts of lettuce and celery. And when it is fully grown you can't eat it (too tough... it's like green beef jerky), so the only option is to cook it. If you do, don't be surprised if you end up with a slimy, green string of a mess, because that's exactly what you'll get. Ugggh, just thinking about it is sending shivers up and down my spine...

Here's a picture for your viewing pleasure... don't look too long or you'll probably turn to stone: