Two weeks till the Market opens!

 Come to me, fresh produce. [Photo by  Alexandr Podvalny  on  Unsplash ]

Come to me, fresh produce. [Photo by Alexandr Podvalny on Unsplash]

And it can't happen soon enough. As I slice into an Argentinian pear, I find myself looking at charts like this one, of Washington grown foods. Grown in May I see...

  • Arugula
  • all sorts of dark, leafy greens
  • varieties of salad greens
  • carrots
  • peas
  • potatoes
  • sunchokes
  • asparagus
  • beets
  • radishes
  • rhubarb
  • turnips

With a mother-in-law suffering from Alzheimer's (and the whole rest of the family suffering as a by-product), I'm always interested in what will keep our brains sharp. Exercise, yes (yuck), but also those dark, leafy greens! (You may also say yuck to that, but I'd rather eat kale than work out.) NPR reported on yet another study linking eating our greens to keeping our gray matter. The bottom line? "Healthy seniors who had daily helpings of leafy green vegetables — such as spinach, kale and collard greens — had a slower rate of cognitive decline, compared to those who tended to eat little or no greens." What constitutes a serving size? Half a cup, cooked, or one whole cup, raw. The link isn't completely understood or established yet, but it does seem that all the folate those greens provide help lower homocysteine levels in the body, leading to less arterial plaque. High homocysteine levels are tied to cognitive decline. Let's be strong to the finish 'cause we eats our spinach.

And then reward yourself!

Perhaps it's only fitting that tonight I have to provide a dessert, and I'm making a banana pudding, the world's best totally-artificial dessert. Meaning, when I had it as a kid, it involved a box of Nilla Wafers, a couple boxes of vanilla pudding, bananas, and a container of Cool Whip.

 The only "real" ingredient in traditional banana pudding [chuttersnap-330199-unsplash.jpg

The only "real" ingredient in traditional banana pudding [chuttersnap-330199-unsplash.jpg

I know I've written about banana pudding here before, somewhere in the annals, but some things are worth repeated efforts to perfect.

Lessons learned from failed banana-pudding efforts:

  • You cannot get rid of the boxed Nilla Wafers. I've tried a couple homemade "vanilla wafer" recipes, and neither one tasted like the boxed version. There's something about those dumb things (that are also pretty danged expensive, considering their cheap, fake ingredients) that cannot be matched at home. Their beautiful uniformity. How delicious they tasted dunked in a glass of milk. Their perfect texture when they soak up the vanilla pudding. Even the Trader Joe's versions don't do it for me.
     
  • Cool Whip, on the other hand, is gross and totally replaceable with whipped cream, sweetened to your taste.
     
  • Boxed pudding is also perfectly replaceable, you just have to make sure to thicken it enough. Today I'm giving this recipe a try.

Easy peasy, and the guests can dig in. But family members, on the other hand will have to plow through the greens to get to the gold.