Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bountiful Basket

This morning I picked up my first ever Bountiful Basket! I had to be at the main entrance of one of our malls at 8:30. Since my MIL is in town, I brought Troy with me and she watched the boys. Here's the thing about these baskets. You don't get to choose what's in them. It's like a surprise grab bag of produce. I find this somewhat exciting. It doesn't speak to me at all as a focused, planner, type A personality but it does speak to me in terms of possibly introducing my family to new things.

Our children are just flat out not allowed to turn their noses up at things. (This doesn't always stop them, of course, but despite the fit they throw, they will eat what is put in front of them.) Certainly there are things they don't like. Garrett hates mashed potatoes. This doesn't mean he doesn't have to eat them. It just means that when I make them, he only has to eat a very small portion. More than the fact that we want them to have broad taste buds, we want them to eat what is put in front of them at other people's houses. I was taught, from a very early age, that we were expected to eat whatever someone else served us. And guess what? We didn't die. Of course, if we'd had a food allergy that would have been different. But, in the same way, I want my children to eat what is served to them. This develops food tolerance and, more often than not, over time, the individual actually comes to acquire a taste for foods they previously hated. Sometimes, it takes a lot of time. Take, for example, my distaste for onions. While I still have a hard time eating crunchy onions, I find myself cooking with the smelly beasts more and more and more. As a kid I hated Chinese food. Now I could probably eat it morning, noon and night. My mom used to make a meatloaf that made me want to hurl. Whenever I had to endure the entree, I chewed without breathing and drank copious amounts of water in between bites. Suddenly, one day, I realized that I wasn't dreading the dish. And *gulp* that it actually tasted good.

So this Bountiful Basket surprise produce situation had me pretty excited in terms of teaching my kids about new things.

Here is what I got for 15 dollars.

10 apples. 1 cantaloupe. 1 head of romaine lettuce. 3 green bell peppers. 10 Roma tomatoes. 1 package of blackberries. 6 ears of corn. 2 cucumbers. 1 pineapple. 3 mangoes. 10 onions. 4 artichokes.

And here is where I tell you about how I loathe and despise artichokes. Yeah. That whole thing about trying new things. Oops. Artichokes are nasty. I mean, they have the word "choke" in their name for crying out loud. What, on earth, am I going to do with four of them? The last time I had an artichoke (outside of dip form, that is) I was maybe nine years old and it almost made me cry it was so disgusting. I pondered this as we drove home. And then it dawned on me. The last time I had an artichoke I was maybe nine. Maybe, just maybe, my tastes have changed in twenty years.

So what am I going to do with those artichokes? We're going to cook one. And then we're going to try it. I owe it to my boys to introduce them to it. Maybe they'll like it. Heck, maybe I'll like it.

I'm very excited about the rest of our basket. It may have been a little heavy on the onions but you know what they say, "When life gives you onions, make onion rings." Wait. Maybe that's just what I say.

Now, if only I had a food scale. Then I could check my savings. I think it was probably substantial.


  1. I found this tutorial on artichokes very handy when they were so cheap I couldn't resist one day:

    I'm addicted to them now!! I've been waiting all winter for them to go on sale and the day has come! Muah ha ha haaaaa!:-)

  2. I have heard about Bountiful Baskets but didn't know they were available in our area! I will have to sign up. I used to get a produce box from Winder Farms every other week and I loved the grab bag! We tried baked fennel, fresh beets, and a few other new veggies. A little scary, but mostly fun (and guess what? we liked the fennel).

    I think you definitely scored with this batch of produce since pineapples are $3 each, artichokes generally run around $2 each, and blackberries are usually a couple dollars a package too. Nice!

    I personally LOVE artichokes. It was always a special night when my dad would make them because they are so expensive and there were 6 of us. I have only eaten them prepared one way though. My dad just steams them for about an hour (I have to warn you they do stink while being steamed). Then we pull the leaves off and dip the "meaty" part in melted butter or mayo (I realize how gross that sounds) and scrape the meat off with our teeth. The rest of the leaf gets thrown away. When you get to the center you peel away the hairy part and the heart is all "meat". It is delish. If you hate it you could always strip the leaves and use the hearts to make fresh artichoke dip! :) Good luck!

  3. wow, that sounds like a really good deal to me! You are right about that being a lot of onions though. My DIL loves that same plan and they are having fun discovering what they like and don't like.
    Since it is just hubs and me, it would be too much food for the two of us though. Have fun!

  4. Yay! We joined a CSA in our area a couple of months ago and absolutely love it! It's a super affordable way to get really fresh, high-quality produce that is organic and local to boot! I agree that it's hard when you want to plan ahead... it throws off my shopping schedule a little... but I also love the surprise and love that it forces us to try new things, many of which I've come to love! I highly recommend it to anyone who lives within a reasonable distance of a farm co-op. I'm excited that you guys are trying this!

  5. p.s. My childhood experience with artichokes was just like Shannon's! Even down to the part about it being a really special treat because they're expensive and there were 6 of us! We boiled them and then ate them the same way she describes, usually with mayo. I know how you feel about mayo, but, as she says, some melted butter (or melted garlic butter) is super yummy with them as well!

  6. I'll take your artichokes ;-) If your kids don't like them either.