Photo credit: Something GUD
I believe in the benefits of farmers markets and community-shared agriculture (CSA). I really do. But there is one tiny problem. I’m not an adventurous cook or eater. So that puts on extra pressure if I’m signing up to get large amounts of random vegetables, many which are unfamiliar to me or I don’t like (I’m talking to you acorn squash and eggplant). And, when it comes to farmers markets, I admit I can be lazy and forgetful. I either forget the farmers market days, or I remember, but it’s off the path of my routine commute. And even if I were delusional enough to think I could turn over a new leaf, my friends’ story about getting inundated with CSA parsnips for months scared me back to Stop and Shop. But then I read about a new start-up in the Boston area called Something GUD that seemed like the answer for culinary scaredy cats like me. They offer small shares of different kinds of foods—vegetables, dairy, meats, breads—all locally sourced. The free delivery (in a cooler you leave out) and an offer of a reduced-priced trial convinced me to try it. Finally I was going to be able to get rid of my guilt about not supporting local farming!
And then the box arrived. I found:
- Homemade granola (delicious)
- Fresh yogurt (made my stomach feel funny, but everyone said it’s because it’s fresh and you have to get used to it—how do people know these things?)
- Fresh mushroom ravioli (to die for)
So far so good. Then I pulled out the vegetable bag and panicked. If pressed, I can tell you they were root vegetables, because I could see their roots. I recognized a couple of carrots which I clung to like long-lost friends. There were six or seven whitish, purplish round and oval things I have never seen before. A search on the internet seemed to narrow it down to turnips or radishes or both. My inadequacies as a cook and eater came flying at me full force. What the heck was I going to do with this stuff? I took a deep breath and decided that a root vegetable is a root vegetable, so I found a slow cooker recipe, chopped up the lot, threw it in, and pretended I was a celebrity chef. It was edible, but started to wear out its welcome after the third night. Did I mention I also just cook for myself? But I decided not to give up, and ordered the organic vegetables share for the next delivery, thinking I’d have more variety and a better shot at recognizing something. Rookie mistake. While I did find a better recipe, there were way more vegetables than I could use and there were still some I didn’t recognize. But the new recipe was a much better fit and I happily ate my “I’m a do-gooder” stew all week. I skipped a couple of weeks to use up the rest of the food and next decided to try the smaller, regular vegetable share. I also added the Iggy’s Bread and the fresh Nella Pasta ravioli. I finally got the vegetable part right, but as I pulled out the ravioli, I paused. It was kale and currant. I actually made a face like a junk food kid being served a bowl of broccoli. I busied myself with making the do-gooder stew and let the weird ravioli sit for a few days. Finally, though, my practicality set in. I couldn’t let it go to waste. Perhaps guessing that people would wonder at the flavor, the text on the box says that the slight sweetness of the currants counters the bitterness of the kale, making it appealing even to kids (and adults who mimic them, I would add). So how was it? It was insanely good. I can’t even describe what it tastes like, because my taste buds don’t get around a lot. So thank you Something GUD for giving me a chance to face my food and cooking fears and shine my community support halo. And if anyone needs to identify a watermelon radish or purple dragon carrots, my rates are reasonable.