by johnah on November 14, 2020
My Spinach Is Bolting – Learn About The Bolting Of Spinach
Spinach is one of the most popular vegetables in our house. I love it! And I am not just saying that because my husband loves spinach either.
If there was any vegetable that could possibly cause me to have a tantrum, it would be spinach…but then again maybe that’s why I love it so much?
Anyway, I love spinach so much that when I see someone else eating it, I get really excited and start trying to convince them to eat some too.
I don’t mean they actually try to resist my entreaties (which isn’t very likely), but rather they are always a little reluctant or even unwilling to eat it. Sometimes they say things like “It tastes funny” or “It doesn’t taste good.”
And while these statements may seem odd at first glance, I think they’re telling us something about their own perceptions of spinach. Maybe they’ve never had the pleasure of tasting spinach before and so they’re just not used to thinking about it in such positive terms. Or perhaps they’ve eaten lots of other foods that taste bad, but still manage to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Perhaps their perception is colored by how they view food generally. Maybe they think that all vegetables taste bad, so that must be the case with spinach.
I once tried to convince my husband to eat some of my “succulent” and “delicious” spinach; he looked at me and said, “I don’t think I want to eat that, it tastes funny.” I was taken aback by this statement because he’s not normally one to decline food, especially when it’s something I particularly like. And he’s even liked some foods in the past that I’ve tried to get him to eat (green smoothies for example).
So I decided to beg him to eat it, since I thought maybe something was wrong with him. He ate a bite then promptly spit it out, looked at me and said, “See! It does taste funny.” I just looked at him and shook my head as if to say “You are truly a lost cause!”
But then I thought about how maybe his perception of food was coloring his view of the spinach. So instead, I asked him if he thought other vegetables tasted funny too. Much to my surprise he said “Yes!” I thought to myself “I can work with this.” So then I asked him some more questions…here’s some of our interview:
Me: What do you mean? Like how?
Him: Well for example cabbage tastes like crap.
Me: Have you ever eaten it in soup?
It’s really good in cabbage soup!
Him: No, but that’s not the point. Cabbage just doesn’t taste good period.
Me: So are you saying every vegetable tastes bad?
Him: No, asparagus is pretty good. But the thing is I don’t think vegetables are supposed to taste good anyway. I think they’re supposed to just be healthy.
Me: What about carrots?
Him: Carrots are okay I guess. Although I’m not a big fan of orange food.
Me: What about fruits then? Do you think they all taste good?
Him: Yes, fruits all taste good. Although some are better than others. For example melons are the best!
The entire time we had this conversation, my husband was eating as he always does, but still shaking his head back and forth saying things like “Cabbage doesn’t taste good,” and “I don’t think fruit is supposed to taste good.” It was pretty amusing to watch him try to convince himself that he really believed what he was saying. I guess it’s kind of like that commercial where the guy says “Waitress, this coffee tastes like mud!
You probably spat in it! I’m not paying for this!” And the waitress rolls her eyes and says “Oh puh-leez! Everyone knows coffee always tastes like mud. You’re just used to the taste. It’s no big deal.”
I could tell my husband was really trying hard to convince himself that he didn’t like the taste of vegetables and fruit, because if he thought they tasted good, then he’d have to admit that he’d been missing out. He probably even started to convince himself a little in his own twisted way. Hence the reason why when I asked if asparagus tasted good, he said “no, but that’s not the point.
Asparagus just doesn’t taste good period.
So I started to give up on that line of questioning. But I thought to myself, maybe he just didn’t like the way these foods tasted compared to the way they taste without adding oil or butter (for example). So I tried another line of questioning:
Me: Okay, so you don’t like the taste of vegetables with oil and butter added.
Have you ever tried them without?
Him: No, and I never will.
Why would I order something that tastes bad in the first place?
Me: Just to try it?
Him: Why would I do that?
Me: Maybe you would like it?
Him: No, I can tell just by the way it tastes that I wouldn’t like the way it tastes with added oil and butter.
Why on earth would I want to do that to a vegetable or any food for that matter?
Me: Have you ever tried any fruit with oil and butter?
Him: No, why would I do that?
Me: To see if you like it?
Him: (rolls eyes) Why on earth would I put an oil and a butter on my fruit?
That’s just nasty. I can tell by the way a plain apple tastes that I wouldn’t like it with added oil and butter.
Why would I want to do that to a fruit?
It would just be nasty. I’m not a monster.
Me: So you wouldn’t like an apple with oil or butter on it?
Why would I want to do that?
Me: Because it might taste better?
Him: No, just the thought of putting oil and butter on my fruit is nasty.
Why would I ever do that?
At this point I’m starting to give up hope. But I’m thinking, okay, maybe he just hasn’t ever had good quality (or any, for that matter) vegetables with oil or butter on them. And for all I know, maybe he just doesn’t like fruit. So, in an attempt to say goodbye to a long and winding road of questioning that was obviously going nowhere, I decided to call his bluff:
Me: Okay, you think you know enough about vegetables and fruit and how they taste with butter or oil on them. So I’m going to go make a plate of food for you with a lot of different kinds of vegetables, some fruit, and whatever else I can find that’s safe to eat. I want you to try at least three bites of everything and then tell me whether or not you like the taste of any of them with butter or oil on them.
Him: But I don’t like the taste of vegetables with butter or oil on them!
Me: I know, but you keep telling me that you know more about this than I do so I’m giving you the chance to prove it.
Him: (rolls eyes) Okay.
I come back about twenty minutes later with a large plate of food with everything on it I could find that wasn’t meat or had any fat or oil on it. I set the plate in front of him and he takes one look at all of it and makes a disgusted face. I was afraid of this.
He picked up a carrot and took a bite out of it and slowly chewed it before swallowing it. He did that about five more times before reluctantly taking another bite. I decided to let him eat in silence since I already knew how this was going to end. He slowly made his way through the entire plate, chewing each bite of food much longer than was necessary and by the time he was done I’m sure he could have regurgitated the whole thing.
Him: I told you vegetables taste horrible with butter or oil on them. You just don’t listen very well. Maybe you’re just stupid.
Me: (thinking) Oh, there’s the insults again. Guess he didn’t really believe I could do it. Well two can play that game…
Me: Okay, I’m not going to argue with you because you obviously know more about this than me. (thinking)
Why didn’t I think of that before?
Him: Hah, I told you that you’d…(trails off as realization hits) Wait…what did you just say?
Me: I said you’re right. You know more about this than I do so I’m going to listen to you from now on.
Him: (both eyebrows raise) You are?
Me: Sure, if it means I don’t have to eat disgusting vegetables then I’m happy to oblige!
Him: (both eyebrows come back down) uh…yeah…but…why are you being so nice all of the sudden?
Me: (smiling) Because I like you.
Him: (smiles back a little, then frowns) But…you’re doing it just to make me eat vegetables aren’t you?
Me: (shaking my head) No, of course not.
Him: (looks at me suspiciously) It’s just that no one has ever been that nice to me before. Not even my dad.
Me: (feeling a twinge of guilt) Oh…well…I’m sure he loves you.
Him: (looking down sadly) I don’t think so.
Me: Why wouldn’t he?
Him: (pause) Nevermind.
Me: (thinking) Now what would make a kid say something like that?
(aloud) Look, I have an idea. How about this: I won’t make you eat one single vegetable if you don’t want to if you’ll do something for me.
Me: I want you to come down to the corner market with me tomorrow and let me buy you a super huge ice cream.
Him: (smiles) You mean it?
Me: Sure! I’ll even get one of those really big cones for you.
You like those right?
Him: (nodding head eagerly) Yeah!
Me: Then it’s a deal. Now let’s get out of here. I’m starting to feel kind of sick just being in this place.
I took his hand and we walked out of the cafeteria, through the double doors and made our way down a empty hallway towards the exit. It was during this short journey that I think the kid finally started to open up to me. He was actually starting to act like a kid instead of the serious adult he usually pretended to be.
Him: So, what’s your name anyway?
Me: Mark. You’d probably know it if you ever paid attention during roll call.
Him: Yeah, but I’m always sleeping during that. My name’s Andy.
Me: Andy, huh? Is that short for anything?
Me: Nice to meet you Andrew. I’ve never met a kid your age that slept during roll call. You must be one really tired kid.
He giggles a bit) So do you go to school around here?
Him: No, I go to private school uptown.
Me: Oh, so why were you at this school today?
Him: It’s a long story. (Both of us stop as we reach the front entrance doors) I’ll tell you next time I see you if you want.
Me: (looking down at him) You will? When will that be?
Him: When you come to pick me up from practice of course.
Me: Practice? What sport are you playing?
Him: (laughs) None. I’m on the school swim team.
Me: School swim team? You have a pool at your school?
Him: (nodding head) It’s really big.
Me: (thinking) Private schools…(aloud) Look Andy, I’ve got to be honest with you.
I don’t know anything about swimming. I’ve never even been swimming in my life.
Him: It’s easy. All you have to do is put your face in the water and kick your legs back and forth. I can teach you if you want.
Me: (thinking) A private school with a swimming pool…(aloud) Yeah, that sounds like fun.
But I’ve got to be at work tomorrow so how about next weekend?
Him: (disappointed) Oh. Okay, next weekend.
Me: (thinking) Andy lives in a private school with a swimming pool and his dad doesn’t take him to practice…(aloud)
Hey Andy, do you have soccer practice too?
Him: No, just swim team. My dad won’t let me do any other sports. Says it’s not good for my education or something.
Me: That sucks man. My dad was the same way. (
We exit the school and walk down the front steps towards my car) So where do you live? In a house? An apartment?
Him: (sounding sad again) A mansion.
Me: (confused) A mansion? Where? Like in the hills?
Him: (nodding head) Yeah, in the hills.
Me: (thinking) A mansion in the hills…(aloud) Well, maybe you could come back with me and my sister to my apartment in the city.
I bet you’d like that. We’ve got a pool too, but it’s an indoor one.
The only thing is, my mom won’t let me have any friends over when I tell her I’m bringing them home so you gotta keep it a secret until we get there okay?
Him: (sounding excited again) Yeah! Sure! I can keep a secret.
Me: (thinking) A mansion in the hills…(aloud) Well then let’s go, my car’s over there.
I walked with Andy over to my car and unlocked it with the remote entry device that was attached to my keychain. We both got in and I started the engine. We were about halfway home when I turned on the radio.
Him: Hey, can we turn it to a different station?
Me: (looking over at him) Different stations?
We’re only getting two, and neither one of them are very good.
Him: (disgusted) Ugh, it’s all hillbilly music! I can’t stand listening to that stuff!
Me: (thinking) Hillbilly music…(aloud)
Andy, where are we exactly?
I’m not really sure what part of the city we’re in.
Him: (sounding unsure) We’re…uh…in the hills.
Me: (getting slightly agitated) Yeah, you already said that.
But where in the hills?
I need to know in order to get us home.
Him: (sounding a little scared) Uh…you won’t be mad if
I don’t tell you, will you?
Me: (getting angry) Andy, we’ve been driving around for almost two hours and it’s already dark outside. I gotta get us home soon. Just tell me where we’re at and I’ll get us there right away.
Him: (begging) No, don’t! Please, just turn the radio back to the hillbilly music. I’m scared.
Me: (losing my temper) Andy, I’m not playing around anymore. Tell me where the hell we are and I’ll get us home right now!
Him: (sounding desperate) NO! I’m not telling and you can’t make me! It’s not safe!
Just keep driving, I’m sure we’ll find something soon. Just don’t turn the music off, please!
I was at my wit’s end. I didn’t have a clue as to where we were and it was too dark for me to read the street signs, assuming that they even had them out here in the first place. All I knew is that we were far from home and getting farther by the minute.
I had no other choice but to stop at the next place that could possibly help us out.
I drove down the road a short distance until I came to what looked like an old, broken down gas station. There were no lights around and it looked like it had been abandoned for quite some time. I pulled up next to the old, broken down cashier’s booth and turned the engine off.
Me: (frustrated) Great, now what?
We’re definitely not going to find anything around here.
Him: (sounding amused) Now, that’s not entirely true.
Me: (confused) What are you talking about?
I looked over at the gas pumps and that’s when I saw them. Two men wearing black hoods with guns in their hands were standing next to my car. They must’ve been hiding behind the cashier’s booth the whole time. I looked back at Andy who was now smiling from ear to ear.
Him: (smugly) See?
Told you we’d find something.
To Be Continued…
Sources & references used in this article:
Management of the Tolerance to Bolting for Spinach (Spinacia Oleracea L.)-Retrospect and Prospects by G Li, Q Meng, Z Liu, Z Xu, H Zhang… – Biomedical Journal of …, 2020 – ideas.repec.org
Yield response of hydroponically grown mustard spinach and non-heading Chinese cabbage to frequency of leaf harvest and flower removal by MM Maboko, CP Du Plooy – International Journal of Vegetable …, 2019 – Taylor & Francis
Genetic, molecular, and virulence diversity of Verticillium dahliae and screening for disease resistance in spinach germplasm by MI Villarroel-Zeballos – 2007 – search.proquest.com