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The Great Taste Sensation

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I’ve always loved my vegies. I know, weird, huh? I was lucky to grow up with a mother who didn’t boil the crap out of them before forcing us to consume half-cold, grey tasteless mashy stuff on a daily basis. Instead, she cooked us honey carrots, zucchini with garlic and butter, cauliflower cheese, broccoli and green beans in white wine and garlic. The list goes on. The point is, the vegies tasted fantastic, so we ate them up. But I’ve recently discovered something unexpected while making meals on my diet and it’s changed my eating habits forever.

It will come as no suprise to you that my diet meals don’t have lashings of garlic butter all over the zucchini. As tasty as that is, clearly the health implications for somebody trying to lose weight means that vegetables must be reduced to their bare state – not necessarily raw, but without all those fabulous trimmings. Sure, I’ve had steamed vegies before, but compared to all those lovely other flavours that could accompany them, the healthy version came a very poor second.

Except that it didn’t.

I honestly didn’t notice this until some time in the middle of week 3, when I was sitting down to a plate of grilled chicken with some pesto on the top of it, and a mountain of steamed vegies including Brussel sprouts, carrots, broccoli and beans. My first mouthful was half a sprout. Then another, then a bean and a carrot then another bean. Before I’d really paid too much attention, I’d eaten almost all the vegies on the plate and ignored the chicken.

This is not normal for me. I like eating the tastiest bits first and finish up with the lesser items so that when I’ve had enough, I can leave those on the plate. But as I sat there, eating one mouthful after another, I began to pay attention to the flavour of the vegetables and I was very surprised to discover that they actually tasted really, really nice. I mean, the actual flavour of the vegie was good. On it’s own.

Shocking, huh? The chicken was good too. As were the subsequent meals I ate. I admit, I wasn’t expecting it, so I probably paid more attention than normal as well. It just hadn’t ever occured to me that food might taste better once you stripped all the fatty flavours from it. Now when I eat steamed vegies, it feels like the fatty flavourings were actually obscuring the flavour of the vegetable, which is amazing to me, given how much I’ve always liked vegies. I can’t help wondering how many other foods are having their flavours suppressed because of things we add without thinking. 

Now, even if I’m not eating a perfect diet meal, I’m longing for those steamed vegies, partly because they’re good for me, but mostly because they just taste great. 

Do you like the taste of vegetables without the trimmings? Or are vegies tasteless without them?

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9 Comments

  1. Allegra says:

    I LOVE steamed vegies!!! So much so that it deserved three exclamation marks.

    Unfortunately I wasn’t so lucky growing up … our vegies were always boiled and often for too long as we waited for Dad to come in from milking the cows. This meant they were often lacking in colour, flavour and vegie goodness. No wonder it would take me a hour to get my meal down!

    I have recently rediscovered how much I love my steamed vegies and I look forward to a whole plate of them. I’ll always loved mashed potato and honeyed carrots, but I also find myself now craving a big plate of steamed carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpking & corn on the cob.

    I’m with you Mackenzie, bring on the steamed vegies a la naturale.

    1. Mackenzie says:

      Unfortunately, your experience of vegies as a kid is all too common. I don’t know what happened to our parents’ generation that they forgot how to cook them, but somehow the idea of flavour vanished into thin air. And as we now know, so did all the nutrients. I admit, when I don’t eat well for a few days, I actually start craving vegies.

  2. Allegra says:

    I had homemade pizzas for dinner last night (and lunch today) and though I loved it, I am now craving my plate of steamed veg tonight (especially the juicy corn on the cob, yum … sans butter).

    Six months ago having a night home to myself would mean I’d whip out a Lean Cuisine pumpkin & spinach lasagne. Now I find that too salty for my liking and am easily choosing the plate of vegies over the highly processed lasagne option.

    Virtue is practically smacking me in the face with this one!

    1. Mackenzie says:

      I guess as a vegetarian you really need to like vegies, right? 🙂 And the fresh stuff is always going to be better than the processed.

      1. Allegra says:

        Yes … turns out I do love vegies, funny about that 😉 I love mashed potatoes, and oven baked sweet potato chips, and roasted veg with flavours such as garllic, ginger and chilli added, mushrooms lightly pan fried with a knob of butter and seasoned with salt & pepper, and cauliflower with cheese sauce (oops, almost drooled at that thought).

        But what I find interesting is that I really do love them in their naked state … lightly steamed so that they still have crunch plus all their goodness and flavour.

        I find myself returning to a plate of good old steamed veg when everything else is just a bit too much. They have such wonderful rejuvenating powers.

        Fresh vs processed. That’s currently my focus (moving away from the lazy option of putting something packet-ish into the microwave/ oven/ pot. Also garnering a little of my attention is the quality of the fresh veg. A new family run supermarket out my way called Lamana (yes, the Lamana Banana group) have really great quality fruit & veg as they source it direct from the markets each day.

        I had to buy veg at my local supermarket last night due to time constraints and it really does come up a distant second to the Lamana produce which is bought at the markets that morning!

        Perhaps you could get a farmers market box delivered weekly (as you’re a fair distance from my local family run supermarket)?

  3. Glenn McCrabb says:

    I loathe vegetable that have sauces and flavourings. Even as I child I hated honey carrots or minted peas or white sauce on caulflower. I always preferred the tast of the raw vegetable. Still do.

    1. Mackenzie says:

      I do like certain vegies raw – and I prefer them only just cooked as well. I hate soggy, mushy vegies. They’re best when they’re still crisp but not hard. Better nutritionally as well, as it happens.

  4. KRin says:

    Fresh snow peas – bliss

    1. Allegra says:

      I agree!