We called them trees. We dipped them in Ranch dressing and suffered through their vitamin-filled crunchiness. And we laughed about how it seemed we’d be able to see the chainsaw grease on the cauliflower, if not the broccoli.
My daddy was a logger for all of my growing up years. And one of his many tall tales from “back in ’09″ (back before we’d had a recent ’09!) was how he cut down broccoli and cauliflower trees. I’m guessing this particular story was manufactured in an attempt to get my cousins, my brother, and I to eat our vegetables. Kind of like the story about the time he stopped at a store in the middle of the night, dying of thirst, and the lady wouldn’t sell him a Diet Pepsi because he wouldn’t say please. (Aesop didn’t have anything on my daddy where morals were concerned.)
I can see us now. Sitting on the bar stools at Papa and Grama’s, our legs dangling. The Tupperware veggie tray (almond colored like everything else in Grama’s kitchen) held the Ranch in the center, the veggies all around the side. I don’t know if black olives count as veggies, but they were there along with the carrots and celery, broccoli and cauliflower. And the black olives always tasted best if they’d been stuck on our fingers first. I don’t know how many olives we must have eaten, but I’m fairly sure we ate more olives than “trees,” despite my daddy’s best attempts.
A veggie tray was standard fare for every big dinner, holiday or not. In the summer, we were sure to have Mom’s potato salad. Aunt Terri’s pasta salad came out no matter the season. And usually you could find a raspberry sherbert salad or some sort of green jello salad (not my favorite, so I can’t give you the details). But no matter the time of year, there was a veggie tray with carrots and celery, olives and trees–with lots of Ranch dressing, but no chainsaw grease.