The bug you can see…

This weekend was a weekend of relaxing, steaming various veggies that I needed to get eaten before I pick up my next CSA load of veggies on Tuesday, cleaning up, and doing laundry.  If it doesn’t sound overly exciting, that’s probably because it’s not.  However, Mike and I did go to see the new Batman movie Saturday night so we did get a little bit of fun in.  🙂

The movie was really well-done (definitely on par with the first two Batman movies in the trilogy).  I was on the fence about the idea of Anne Hathaway as Cat Woman.  I really associated her with Disney’s Princess Diaries and Ella Enchanted, both of which were good movies but were definitely on the fluffy side.  I was really impressed with her in Batman, though!  I felt like she did a believable job with Cat Woman, without going overboard (I mean… let’s face it.  She’s wearing a spandex suit, high heels, and a cat mask… it would have been really easy to overdo it.)  I loved the young detective too…. although I can’t remember the actor’s name off the top of my head.  Something about Gordon Levitt??

Unfortunately, I haven’t cooked this week.  This is directly a result of Mike and me not eating enough at home to finish up the food that I made last weekend (split pea soup for me and meatball veggie soup for Mike).  We’re close… but not quite there.  I have several onions and heads of garlic that need to be used up, and I found a good, light, summer recipe for angel hair pasta that has a garlic, tomato sauce, so I think I’ll make that up tomorrow night.

Last week I took Piper to the vet for her yearly checkup.  The vet is only about four blocks from my apartment, so I could easily walk to it, even carrying Piper in her cat carrier.  Unfortunately, there was a huge amount of construction the entire way, and it scared Piper long before she even got to the vet’s.  There were all kinds of jackhammers, cranes, bulldozers, construction workers yelling, and dust in the air.  I tried to walk a few blocks out of the way to avoid the construction, but it was pretty much everywhere.  Normally I get to avoid the construction because the crews are generally done working by the time I get out of work… I didn’t realize the construction was so intense during the day.  Poor Piper was mewing pitifully by the time we reached the vets and refused to be bribed with the treats that the vet tried to give her.  (Also, the treats were the healthy kind that are good for a cat’s teeth.  I could have told the vet that you couldn’t pay Piper to eat those kinds of treats and that all she really wants are the unhealthy Friskies Party Mix treats that are comprised entirely of preservatives and fillers.  I didn’t tell him that though.  I told him she was probably just scared.)

On Thursday I went to the Farmer’s Market because I was out of lettuce.  Note to self: It’s a problem if you’re eating so much lettuce that you run out three days after you’ve gotten a head and a half from your CSA.  I also wanted kale.  I am on the fence about kale.  Let me explain.

I started eating kale about five years ago.  Kale is a superfood.  It’s high in antioxidants and vitamins.  It’s high in lutein and zeaxanthin which are very important for eye health (No… I wasn’t able to spell zeaxanthin without the help of the internet… but I do know how to pronounce it for whatever that’s worth.).  It’s also high in beta carotene (vitamin A), vitamin C, and vitamin K.  Apart from all that, I like some dark leafy kale on top of my salads.


Almost as soon as I started eating it, Mike warned me not to.  He said that kale is used as a garnish at many restaurants, but that when he worked in restaurants he always saw little bugs on the kale.  He said the bugs “got smaller” somehow when the kale was cold (i.e. in the fridge) so that you couldn’t see them but then “woke up” and started moving around when the kale reached room temperature.  So apparently if you just look at cold kale, it appears fine.  Until….. you get it to room temperature.  At which point the bugs wake up, move around… and gross you completely out.  Sounds just like a B-rated horror movie.  Anyway, I steadfastly resisted Mike’s warnings for years.  After all, I had my eye health to think about, right?  That brings us up to the farmer’s market last Thursday.  There was an organic booth selling organic lettuce and kale.  They had three different kinds of kale, and they were all beautiful and leafy.  I grabbed a plastic bag and approached the kale.  Oh my gosh!!!  Bug alert!  There were mini grey bugs walking over the head of kale I was reaching for.  I immediately backed up.  After all those years of Mike’s “kale bugs” warnings, I was finally seeing a kale bug.  Several of them.  Many of them.  Probably because the kale was out in the sun at a farmer’s market and not in the fridge so the bugs weren’t hibernating or whatever crazy thing they did to avoid detection in the cold. As I backed up (probably looking a little horrified), the woman at the booth saw me out of the corner of her eye and probably thought something, but didn’t say anything.  I remained a good six feet away from the kale.  Well, now what?  I wanted organic produce.  That meant you couldn’t spray pesticides on it.  That meant bugs were likely going to find their way to it.  What did I want… pesticides or bugs?  Bugs.  I stepped towards the kale again.  My gosh… there were tons of those little bugs!  I didn’t know whether or not I could deal with this.  This time the produce lady didn’t choose to ignore me.

“Can I help you with something?”

“Um… no.”  Not unless you can get these bugs off your kale.  “Just looking.”

She turned back to other customers while I stood at arm’s length from the kale and tried to convince myself that bugs weren’t a big deal, that I would wash the kale crazily thoroughly prior to using it, and that lots of produce I’ve bought over the years has probably had bugs in it.  But there is, apparently, a big difference between the bug you can see and the bug you can’t see.  At least in my mind.  After standing there in complete and total indecision for about five minutes (the produce lady was definitely keeping an eye on me by this time), I asked her for a bunch of kale and tried not to wince as she picked it up thoughtlessly.  Bugs, bugs, bugs.  It was unfortunately all I could think about.  As soon as she gave me the bag, I tied the top of it tightly in a knot.  Those bugs weren’t getting out and infecting the rest of the produce in my fridge.  Besides, maybe I could asphyxiate the bugs.  Although, now that I was thinking about it, I wasn’t actually sure which was worse on my produce… dead bugs or live bugs.  Regardless, I had made a decision.  The decision to postpone the decision by buying and quarantining the kale until I could figure out what to do about it.

This long story has a somewhat anti-climatic ending.  On Sunday I pulled out the bag of airtight kale and opened it, steeling myself to wash off a bunch of dead bugs, only to find that the kale was completely withered and spoiled.  Apparently an oxygen-free atmosphere is not good for cut kale.  Mental note to self.

I sealed the bag again, threw it away, walked to Whole Foods, and bought a container of their pre-cut, triple-washed kale and then proceeded to handwash it myself just for good measure.

Now I have severe paranoia regarding kale.

What an exciting life I lead!  🙂

Mike and I went to the gym on Sunday (post-kale) and Mike went crazy on one of the elliptical trainers and now his hamstrings have been sore for the past couple of days.  I think we’ll do yoga tonight if I can talk him into it to loosen up his muscles.  Plus he said he won’t take a yoga class with me at the gym until I’ve given him a few yoga classes with just the two of us so he knows what to expect.

Speaking of yoga, I’m also taking a yoga class with a friend from work a couple times a week over lunch.  We went for the first time on Monday.  It was really fun hanging out with my friend, but the yoga didn’t really rock my yoga world.  I’m reserving judgment until I’ve gone a few more times, but I think long-term that particular style of yoga just isn’t my thing.


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Filed under Cooking, Dogs + Cats, The little things

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