Broccoli: (n) a variety of cabbage bearing green heads, widely cultivated as a vegetable.
I don’t remember ever seeing broccoli until I was sixteen years old.
I’m not denying its existence–it’s just that for some reason, our family did not participate in broccoli. Perhaps in my era it was not as popular, but more than likely, there was a silent vote taken among family members, without my knowledge, prohibiting the odd vegetable from entering our home.
The first time I did see broccoli and ate it was at a Chinese restaurant, where I was embarrassed because a girl had to explain to me what was perched in front of me with a green head, staring right into my eyes.
She was sufficiently overbearing and condescending, while baffled by my ignorance.
She told me that it was a very healthy thing to eat and that people of culture had consumed it for generations. I quickly realized that she was insinuating that I was not one of them, so I quickly took my fork and cut into the stalk, having the sensation, for some reason or another, of being a tiny lumberjack.
I liked it pretty well. Now, that might be because it was in a sweet ad sour sauce, surrounded by so much goo that it had little chance of diluting the delight.
Since then I have become an avid eater of broccoli even though I will admit to you that the word “avid” does not necessarily fit into that sentence.
I well remember, however, when the first President Bush confessed to the entire nation that he did not like broccoli, there was a collective gasp of horror and disbelief that the leader of the free world would be anti-florets.
But it is an acquired taste.
As with all vegetables, you have to wrap your mind around the fact that you are actually consuming something that normally would be chewed on by a cow or dried up by a summer’s drought.