The first time I saw a zucchini was in a swanky restaurant where the waiter pulled out my chair.
Or at least he tried to, but I had already sat down. I was 16 and considered myself to be a sophisticated woman of the world.
If the chair-pulling-out exercise didn't prove that last statement to be false, then the ignorance of that greenish vegetable on my plate did.
I had been raised on the meat-and-three-vegetable diet. The meat was cooked in dripping out of the dripping container (some were known to have this on toast, but my household maintained some level of decorum) and the vegetables chopped in the morning and left to soak for the day in the aluminium cooking pot.
My staple was potatoes, carrots and a selection of greens (ie peas or beans). Occasionally there was a choko thrown in (we grew them next to the strawberries out the back near the macadamia, mulberry and grapefruit trees).
Needless to say, I would hang around the kitchen desperate for dinner, such was my hunger at all meal times. I was a skinny kid with the nickname of 'emu' because my legs looked like two sticks with a ball in the middle.
I could eat two bowls of banana custard for dessert and still play my ribs like a piano. My hip bones stuck out so far I used to wrap one of them around the bus pole to maintain my balance on the way to school. (If only those days of being able to eat anything without weight gain would return.)
This was common fare for the 1960s, along with bowl cuts and mumu dresses and magic silver white in the hair of the young and the very old. This was when you made your clothes out of patches, wove bags with the peace symbol on the front and turned your old jeans into jean skirts.
But while I have been lurking down this memory lane, the world clearly has moved on, as evidenced by a recent dinner party conversation. At this conversation I was dazzled with my friends' knowledge of the modern vegetable.
There are various types of round vegetables that aren't potatoes. There are carrot-like vegetables of different colours. And let's not even get onto the world of greens. It is time for my standard three vegetables to change their colour and their shape.
- Linda Muller