A piece of broccoli is like a very small tree, which makes anyone eating it a giant. If you’re ever feeling small, insubstantial, insignificant—and in terms of the universe, it’s very hard not to feel that way—broccoli is your ticket out. Of course, trees taste terrible, unless you’re a woodpecker… though woodpeckers don’t exactly eat wood, do they? Termites would probably be a better example, but termites are bugs and bugs are insignificant, unless you happen to be that exasperating ant in A Bug’s Life. And that ant sucked.
Broccoli’s sibling celery is like a small canoe—designed by an idiot. If you want to feel insignificant, celery would be the vegetable for you; it’s the closest you can come to chewing mushy water with floss in it. No one should be surprised if celery was produced by a dentist in New Jersey, and his name was Dr. Worst Dentist Ever.
Rabbits don’t actually like carrots; they like the color orange and the feeling of power. Rabbits also happen to be the cutest, most hyper-reactive animal on the planet. They’re like someone who could be nice to date until you discover the host of crippling insecurities just waiting for you to make a comment on their pants. Not that it’s impossible to date someone like that, it’s just harder when they bolt into some bushes when you move suddenly or throw a plate of rice at you because you mentioned neon leg warmers were soooo eighties.
French fries are the prostitutes of the potato world, and hash browns are the drug addicts—but it’s hard not to fall into something destructive when you’ve been buried for four months and taste like a raw potato. Really, we should be surprised that yam turned out so well. Discrimination against the color orange isn’t anything to scoff at.
The whole healthy world is upheld by the apple; they pay their taxes, get their bills in on time, go bowling every Friday night, and talk enthusiastically about the current weather. Not quite as exotic as a banana or zesty as an orange, sure, but they get the job done. Tomatoes, on the other hand, are apples with a psychiatric disorder; ketchup is psychiatric tomato blood, and mustard… you don’t want to know what mustard is. As far as pickles go, they’re depressed cucumbers, and cucumbers are depressed zucchini. Zucchini’s doing all right.
No one remembers to send okra a Christmas card, and they usually misspell “okra” anyways. Ocra? Akra? Okrah? Occasionally, someone visits her when they go south for spring break and feel obligated to drop by for an afternoon. The visit is… okay, nothing too catastrophic. She calls everyone Lenny for no explicable reason, has a creepy doll collection, and adopts homeless cats—or they’re the neighbor’s cats and she stole them.
Green bean comes from a large family, none of whom like each other, even though they’re all technically the same. Okay maybe not genetically but realistically—they’re malnourished, hang around all day, and are unaccountably boring, like pretend-your-spoon-is-a-star-destroyer-shooting-down- rebel-scum-while-they-go-on-about-Gurdy’s-hip-replacement boring.
Beans and peas are related and occasionally marry each other, which is why beans look a little like peas and also not like peas at all. Both beans’ and peas’ genetics are all pretty much shot, and it’s hard to understand who’s related to who when no one can put together a cohesive sentence. Their fiber, however, is off the charts.
Lime and lemon are sisters, though lime never quite left the parent’s basement. Lemon, on the other hand, moved out and subsequently pissed off most everyone in her life. She’s a bit of a sour character, though she’s managed a living as a local barkeep and a garnish for fish and chips. Occasionally she scores lime some gigs at bars. Neither has a boyfriend.
Orange and banana are friends, which is why they taste so good in smoothies. Banana is gay—and it’s totally cool with all the other fruits—whereas kiwi is still figuring out who he is and what he feels. Is he really a large grape? Does he have some relation to orange? Why is carrot so attractive? Sigh… it’s complicated, and it’s going to take some time for kiwi to figure it out.
Pineapple is definitely not gay, not that he gets much action either way. It’s hard to get past the fact that he could stab you with a bunch of spikes during a congenial bit of snuggling. But he lives in Hawaii and is pretty fine with where he is in life, so the whole situation’s okay for him. Pineapple is also friends with orange and banana because, as mentioned before, the whole smoothie thing.
It doesn’t take a genius to know that a corn cob is simply one kernel cloned eight hundred times. But it’s all right because the original was a nice chap, and corn gets along with everyone. In fact, if it’s possible to be too gregarious, corn would be pushing that line. You just can’t be friends with Monsanto and expect to live a virtuous life. Monsanto is like the Corleone family of corn. We gonna’ make you an agricultural subsidy deal you can’t refuse.
Actually, if we could all imagine that our fruits and vegetables spoke with accents, we could go a long way to understanding the current nutrition situation, which is bad, very bad. Any casual eater should be on the watch. Never mind human relationships or your weight loss goals, the relationships on your plate have never been so fractious and convoluted.
The amount of passive aggression in a normal serving of salad would be enough to kill a small squirrel. Merely mixing together cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes is a tacit approval of scorched-earth warfare. You could call the overall situation The Food Struggle. It has persisted from generation to generation, through and with all the cultures of the world, and is coming soon to a plate near you.
Ben Rietema (’14) lives in Wanaka, New Zealand at the moment. Besides staring at and running in mountains, he makes a wicked hospital corner and can clean a bathroom like Gandhi (if he were a housekeeper) at his job at a local lodge. He also enjoys saying “HOUSEKEEPING” in the highest pitch voice he can muster before entering a room to service it. benrietema.wordpress.com/