When the children were young, many of our meals consisted of pasta, vegetables, and well, pasta and vegetables. Kelly was always concerned with the kids getting enough nutrients, and eating their vegetables. My daughter Melanie once recalled sitting at the dinner table long after everyone else had finished because she refused to eat the three green beans on her plate, and her father refused to excuse here until they were eaten. It was an impasse, and I don’t recall the ending. But, the consumption of veggies by his children was important to Kelly.
Thus, when he made spaghetti sauce, he had a habit of adding vegetables to the sauce, shredded carrots for example, were disguised in the sauce, and the kids ate it up, without ever realizing they were eating a bunch of cooked carrots. He added onions and peppers, minced broccoli even. But then, one day he went too far —even for me.
The sauce was simmering on the stove and smelled wonderful. The spaghetti was nearly finished, and I had the fixins for garlic bread ready to be toasted. It was at this point that Kelly produced two, not one, but two dusty cans of canned green spinach. Now I like spinach, fresh spinach that is like the kind you use to make a nice spinach salad with poppy seed dressing; but canned spinach has never been a favorite of mine, being rather wilted and slimy and all. Actually, I’m not even sure why I had canned spinach on my pantry shelves. But it was there, and Kelly decided to add it to the spaghetti sauce. If I would have been in the kitchen when he actually began to take action, I would have stopped him, but I was too late.
Red and green are Christmas colors of course, a pleasant contrast, red bows on green bows is pleasing to view. But, adding slimy green spinach to bubbling red spaghetti sauce results in rather a gray-tinged mass. It still smelled relatively ok, but it definitely was not visually appealing. But the pasta, the sauce, and the garlic bread was placed on the table, and Kelly started serving up plates of pasta topped with his special sauce. And being the supportive wife in this instance, I tried to eat it, truly I did. But I could simply could not; nibbling instead at the pasta on the edge of my plate, sans the sauce. And the kids, well we had a revolt on our hands. Kelly gamely ate half of his plate, but the spinach spaghetti sauce even defeated him. And nobody had to sit at the table that night to finish vegetables. And now, years later, if anyone in the family mentions spaghetti, the tale of the spinach is invoked.
PS: And now that you’ve heard this tale, I know that spaghetti does not even sound appetizing, so how about a spinach salad recipe instead?
Strawberry Spinach Salad
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp poppy seeds
½ c. white sugar
½ c. olive oil
¼ c. distilled white vinegar
¼ tsp. paprika
¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp minced onion
10 ounces fresh spinach – rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
1 quart strawberries – cleaned, hulled and sliced
¼ c. almonds, blanched and slivered
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, and onion. Cover and chill for one hour.
In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds. Pour dressing over salad, and toss. Refrigerate 10 – 15 minutes before serving.