How to Eat Swiss Chard
Megan, Kathryn and I raced down the wooden stairs, our socks forcing us to slow down as we made the turn into the kitchen. Ryn and Megan's mother, Tracy, was one of the best cooks I knew (besides my own mother, of course) and when we entered the kitchen the warm smell of baking bread met our noses.
"Serve yourselves," Tracy told us. "You three will be eating outside. And girls, don't forget to eat your Swiss chard.
Megan and Ryn and I got a glump of the seaweed-like green leaves on our plates along with still-warm spaghetti, a slice of watermelon and hot, fresh bread.
Ryn cast me a grimace. Kathryn and I had been best friends since first grade and we often exchanged looks instead of words.
"Do I have too?" Megan, Ryn's little sister, pouted. Even though she was technically only my best friends sis, Megan and I were friends.
"Fine," Megan pouted. She poured herself a glass of chocolate milk.
We walked through the screen door into the warm sun of the evening. The table was set up in a slit of shade, keeping us cool as we sipped at our milk and nibbled on our bread.
"I guess I'll try this," Kathryn muttered first, gesturing at the Swiss chard with her fork. Megan and I exchanged looks.
"Tell me if it's good," I said to Ryn. I was a picky eater but I was going to eat it all just as Tracy had said.
"It'll be gross," Megan assured me.
Kathryn wrestled a large clump onto her fork. Then, raising her eyebrows at me, she took a bite.
Her entire face changed. It screwed up tight as if she had bit into the center of a lemon (which, by the way, Ryn is known to do) and she chewed angrily for a few moments.
Megan looked even more upset but I laughed. It couldn't be that bad!
When she was finished, Ryn looked exhausted. She looked wearily over at me and said one word. "Yuck. Amber, it is totally gross."
"Oh, come on," I was getting a little annoyed. I indignantly stuck my fork in a piece of chard and swallowed.
Whoa! My mouth was immediately sucked dry of any moisture as if the plant was coated in salt. But it didn't taste salty. It tasted sour, gross, wet and damp like…like nothing I had ever had before. I choked, taking humongous gulps of milk to drown the taste.
"See?" Laughed Kathryn who, aggravatingly, is never wrong.
Megan's eyes widened.
"That was…interesting," I said, hoping not to offend Ryn.
"Told you so!" She hooted, still smiling.
Megan looked crossly at her Swiss chard. "Are mommy and daddy eating it?" She asked no one. Then, standing, she made her way up to peer through the window.
Ryn and I stared at her for a reaction.
When Megan returned, her face was dark. "Mommy said we have to eat it. She and daddy and grandma are all eating it, just fine!"
"Just…eating it?" I mentally gagged, recalling the taste again.
"You haven't even tried it yet," Ryn pointed at Megan's large pile of Swiss Chard. "You might like it."
"And then you can have mine!" I eagerly and hopefully added.
Megan scowled. She pulled a tiny piece of chard and popped it in her mouth. Her reflex was the same as mine.
"We need to figure out how to eat it without tasting the balsamic vinegar and plant," Ryn assisted the situation, Megan now eagerly listening.
"With bread?" I stuffed chard in my bread and swallowed it.
"Milk?" Megan put the Swiss chard in her mouth and chugged the milk.
"'ack uv da 'oat?" Ryn said through her open mouth, tilting her head back and dropping the Swiss chard down so it missed her tongue and flew down her throat.
We even tried watermelon but watermelon with basalmic vingar is really gross. It didn't work.
In fact, none of our strategies worked well. Mixed it with spaghetti, pressed into bread or thrown past the tongue, the foul plant seemed to always get to us.
As time passed, our piles dwindled. Ryn and I found that by eating tiny pieces of chard, you didn't get the taste. Megan took longer to finish her pile, slowly nibbling at it and frowning after every bite.
I don't think I'll ever forget it. It was a bit of a traumatic (yet funny, now) experience.
All I know is that I will try to avoid Swiss chard for the rest of my life. As a warning, so, I hope, will you.
How to Make Swiss Chard
2 lb. Swiss chard
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 c. chopped green onion
1/4 c. butter or olive oil
1/4 c. & 1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. celery salt
Pinch of nutmeg
Wash Swiss chard thoroughly; drain. Remove leaves from stalks. Tear leaves into small pieces. Set aside.
Cut stalks into inch size pieces. In large saucepan saute cut up stalks, onion, garlic in butter or olive oil. Add salt, pepper, celery salt, nutmeg and lemon juice to pan. Reduce heat. Add Swiss chard leaves. Cover. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. (To this may be added 1 tablespoon capers, 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes and sprinkled with cheese before serving.)
From "Cooks dot com"
Megan, Ryn and I hate Swiss chard. Could you guess?
Want to meet Ryn? She's Falcon0rider on this site! Cool, eh? What a small world.
This story is dedicated to cooks dot com who suplied the recipie and for Tracy who brought on this story with her cooking.