Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sprouts - I finally got it!

I think sprouts are a misunderstood food. And I am a sucker for misfits, of course. I am talking about the bean ones. I never had sprouts growing up. They’re inexistent back home.
Since I moved to the States (the lessons never stop, even after 10 years), everyone I have ever met warns me how sprouts are to be stayed away from. They order the sandwiches “without sprouts” and oh, no, I have never seen a grocery list with sprouts on it.
So I never put them on my list either, but, the ever adventuresome eater that I am, I never take them off my sandwiches when they “come with them”. Nooo… I wanna keep them there, to try them at least once, or twice… or …. .
My first thought when I had them was: “oh, THIS if different, all right. I AM eating, well, SPROUTS . And nothing besides!”… but I kept having another bite. It was one of those feelings of “not-sure-I-like-it-like-it-but-I-don’t-hate-it-either”. So for years now, I have had sprouts… They’re not on my grocery list still, but they’re on all the sandwiches that come built that way.
A chronic sufferer of acid reflux and a champion burper, I figured out tonight what, exactly, is my relationship with sprouts. You know, I came to that point in the relationship where you either move in or move on! Well, they moved IN! The sprouts that is!
Oh, yeah, this is love! And one “healthy” burp (don’t talk to your GI doc, trust me, the adjective is right here) helped me figure that out: I love sprouts and now I know why: they’re earthy! They’re simple, and plain, with no claim to polish-ness and high-class. They’re dirty and earthy. They come from the ground and tell the soil story! And they bring into your mouth the aroma of their mother earth!
And that’s just so simple, and whole and uncomplicated, that I love it, and melt for it. It’s the same reason why I love trout and carp (yes, I said carp!!): because they taste like muddy waters. None of that fancy, garlic and whine sauces can take that aroma away. It’s un-fancy fish, it’s un-messed with, and elemental.
Man was born to be a hunter-gatherer… and when I can smell, and taste and chew on the simple elements, like the water, and the earth and the mud, and sometimes the air … yeah… that’s when food is turning me on! It’s when I taste the grape, or the pear, or the strawberry in the wine that I go ga-ga for it, not “when I taste the barrel or the steel”…It’s breaking the bread, instead of cutting it, and when I pull the chicken off the bone, and not cut it, when it “doesn’t come with a bone” that I love eating meat…
Mom tells everyone this story of me as a restless toddler, eating potting soil. One of my favorite things to do when I was 2 or so, was to walk up to a potted plant, stick my tiny fist in the moist soil , grab a handful and eat it, muddy cheeks and lips and all. No, I was not hungry, nor underfed, I was an “obese kind, so fat in fact my big fat tongue would not fit in my mouth and was always hanging out” (mom’s quotation and translation here), but I loved to eat soil for some reason…I loved the taste, I bet!
Maybe eating sprouts is the “OK” from the civilized world to be one with the elements again. To eat my potting soil again. And it’s a welcome reunion indeed! Not to mention, quite delicious!
But I do understand the fear people have for sprouts… Those same people who want “fish with no eyes and chicken with no bones”

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