If you could be any vegetable, which would you chose? This is one of those questions meant as an ice breaker on the first day of school in junior high, or at a trinket sales convention in Vegas. Most people would say something to the effect of “a potato ‘cause I like fries” or something else requiring little thought other than what am I going to eat for lunch today. Truly, I have to admit that when posed with those types of questions my first reaction is that I don’t want to play. Perhaps this is because I am a cynic or just done with the lame get-to-know-you games of yesteryears. But what would I really prefer to be, if I had to, of course. I think that it comes down to the habanero pepper and the lima bean.
The habanero pepper is a beautiful thing to behold. Its smooth orange surface is almost mesmerizing. You see it in the produce section of your favorite grocer and are immediately drawn to it. Only a few vegetables have that type of power to attract attention by simply being. Of course, only those with a resilient palate buy them because they definitely deliver a kick to the taste buds. They are not for those with low tolerance to heat or a predisposition to heartburn. Known as one of the ‘hottest’ peppers, the habanero is part of an elite class of vegetables that not many can reach but all aspire to, almost to the point of taboo. The habanero also resembles a miniature pumpkin. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays (it must come from being a child of the Devil) and most things related to it are first-rate by my tally. So it is therefore a favorite simply by being.
The lima bean is a bit of an enigma. It is not attractive by any means. It actually is one
of the least desirable beans by sight. Its pale green color is reminiscent of putrid milk or the vomit of one who dined on peas and spinach. Its taste is not particularly likeable either. It has a distinct flavor that is not easily forgotten. However, in the hands of a capable cook, it has the power to transform dishes by complimenting spices and flavors that other members of the bean family cannot begin to imagine that they could fulfill. The plant that it grows upon is resilient and resistant to many would be destroyers. Above all, the lima bean is a polarizer. You don’t find many people who are indifferent to them. Most people have a certain opinion of either yes or no as to their like of the neglected vegetable otherwise known as the lima bean.
So, it’s a toss up. I really don’t know. But I do know that I will never walk through the produce department again without thinking ‘Who are all of these vegetables?'