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The Three Stages of Vegetable Shopping in Adulthood

I remember being so excited to move out. This was a misguided source of excitement for a number of reasons (cost of rent, how much laundry a single human is capable of generating, electricity bills, what do you mean, “ I have to make dinner?” what if I choke alone and am found on the carpet weeks later, half-consumed by my cats?) but I remember being excited that I alone would determine which vegetables I would be eating. And by ‘which vegetables,’ I mean none. Or are we counting mashed potatoes drenched in butter? Because you know I have a soft spot for potatoes.

‘Adulting’ and Eating Vegetables — Stage One

I didn’t plan on eating another green bean for as long as possible. Pumpkin? Pass. How about some salad? I think not. Meat and starch, all the way. Oh, and dessert, of course. As you can imagine, stage one lasted for only a couple of weeks. I gained a whole lot of weight and I also appeared to be…nutritionally deficient. Upon googling the things that were wrong, the words “lack of vitamins” popped up. I felt insulted…and inept at adulthood.

‘Adulting’ and Eating Vegetables — Stage Two

Which then brought me to stage two. Begrudgingly accepting that perhaps vegetables had been part of my diet growing up for a good reason. That maybe mom knew best when it came to this kind of thing. Acceptance was a brief stage because it swiftly turned to stage three: denial.

“Tender stem broccoli costs HOW much per packet? But…it’s just broccoli, with a… tender stem? How does a tender stem entitle you to charge me twice the amount for a packet of broccoli? Don’t you understand that I need my nutrients? Why are you charging so much money for something that we both know came from the dirt?”

‘Adulting’ and Eating Vegetables — Stage Three

It was at this stage — stage three — that I realised that all of my favourite vegetables were extraordinarily expensive. Exotic mushrooms? Artichoke hearts? Young asparagus? I had no clue there was a class system when it came to vegetables because I had taken for granted how gorgeous the variety of vegetables was back in my childhood home. And the even bigger scandal was that this classism seemed to extend to fruit too. You can eat all the apples you want, Tayla, but be prepared to take on extra freelancing work this month if you want to eat a single cherry. Frozen vegetables seemed to offer some kind of solution, but not all vegetables were available frozen. Ever had a frozen mushroom? Don’t.

I soon began looking forward to when my mom would host me for dinners. There would be at least three different vegetables on offer — three! — and not one of them would be the two-for-one-decidedly-not-tender-stem broccoli I had been stocking up on. I would load my plate with vegetables (and the other goodies too, I’m not a saint. Or, regrettably, a vegan) and reminisce on how terribly wrong I was about vegetables when I was a kid, teenager, and young adult.


Try these Vegan Vegetable soups recipe here!


‘Adulting’ and Eating Vegetables — Stage Four?

Actually, maybe there is a stage four. I still can’t afford to eat the amount of marinated artichoke hearts I know I’m capable of (I really just need someone to sponsor this experiment in the interest of being able to put down a definite number). Instead, I’ve learnt to make my ‘cheap’ vegetables work for me. Pumpkin soup with a sprinkle of crispy bacon is delicious. I really enjoy steamed brussels sprouts.  Even my two-for-one-decidedly-not-tender-stem broccoli is delectable when you add some salt, pepper, olive oil, and dried herbs and roast on a low heat for half an hour until the florets turn crispy and crunchy. I guess you could say that growth isn’t just for vegetables.




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Tayla Blaire

Tayla Blaire is a South African writer, teacher, epicurean, and (most importantly) mother to all cats. Tayla has been thinking (and subsequently writing) about food since she was a tiny tot after her mother taught her that measuring ingredients was for the weak. If you’re interested to see what Tayla has whipped up recently, check out her Instagram profile @tayla.blaire to see the recipes that she has lovingly filmed in her very own too-small kitchen.

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