Saturday, April 18, 2015

THE ANSWER MAN: Deporting FIsh Tacos


The Rev. Dana Prom Smith, S.T.D., Ph.D. (4/18/2015)

 

          Question:  Dear Answer Man, it’s Abigail here once again.  It’s about my husband Rusty.  He claims he’s “a meat and potatoes kinda guy,” which means, I think, that he doesn’t like vegetables.  He’s got the idea that because he lives in Flagstaff he’s a frontiersman, some kind of pioneer.  He doesn’t even wear a cowboy hat, instead, it’s a ball cap turned backwards.  He doesn’t own a horse and works on diesel engines.  About the only thing that makes him an authentic frontiersman is that he takes his coffee black, he keeps his hat on when he eats, and his teeth are brown from the coffee.

 

Answer:  Howdy, Abigail, does he like sardines?  Canned sardines were the staple diet of the cowboys in the late 1800’s!  You might set out a spread of canned sardines and saltines, telling him that sardines are what makes a cowboy.

 

Question:  I couldn’t get him into sardines.  He hates fish although he likes fish tacos.  I think it’s the fat and the breading that he likes, plus the crunch of corn tortilla.  He loves fried chips.  Also, he’s gotten into politics.  He’s against immigration.

 

Answer:  Well, there you have it.  If he doesn’t eat his vegetables, his brain’ll go dead on him.  The best way to straighten out Rusty’s politics is to get him to eat his vegetables plus fish.  There’s no point in persuasion.  Sometimes people’s brains get locked up from lack of vegetable lubrication.  It’s best just to feed his brain.

It took immigration to add tacos to our menus.  Does he want to deport fish tacos back to Mexico?  Does he do Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Thai?  How about French, Italian, Armenian, or Greek?

There are three kinds of vegetables that help send blood to the brain to make it work better.  Surreptitiously, add some fish oil capsules to his food, like tuck one in a taco.

Kale, Swiss chard, and spinach are three of the most nutritious vegetables, and they’re the easiest to grow.  TIME magazine even listed them amongst the 50 most healthful vegetables.  You could even slip them in his fish tacos.

 

Question:  Okay, so I’ll sneak fish oil capsules in his tacos.  I do that for our two labs already.  It sure makes their coats sleek and shiny.  I don’t know that they’ll help Rusty’s hair.  What’s left, he shaves so that without his baseball cap he looks like a cue ball.  He says that it’s the style among “real men.”  I told him that they looked like billiards.

Please, give me some directions on kale, Swiss chard, and spinach.

 

Answer:  They are easy to grow and tolerant to cold weather.  Kale even tastes after a light freeze.  Sometimes, Swiss chard survives the freezes of winter, coming up again in the spring.

First, prepare the soil with compost.  It needs to be friable, like flowing through your fingers.  Next, use a balanced fertilizer that’s rich in nitrogen.  These are all leafy vegetables and need nitrogen.  With leafy vegetables, the plant, not the fruit, is eaten, and nitrogen’s good for the growth of the plants themselves.

These are all cool season vegetables so they do well in Flagstaff.  The seeds can be sown about a month before the last freeze which statistically comes around June 15.  They should be sown about ½ deep, three to four inches apart, and then thinned for maximum growth. They can all be sown successively through the summer and even into early fall. 

There are several varieties of kale, Swiss chard, and spinach.  Swiss chard offers the widest varieties in terms of color, especially a lovely red called Vulcan.  Kale offers many varieties, especially in texture: the Tuscan with a long leaf, Russian with a broad leaf which turns red, and Scotch which is frilly.  Probably the most popular of the spinach varieties is baby spinach.  So have at it!

         

          Question:  I’ll let you know.  The secret as far as Rusty’s concerned is deception, slipping them in his fish tacos unawares.  He won’t eat them otherwise.  I’ll let you know later about deporting fish tacos back to Mexico.

 

          Answer:  I wonder if gyros are next?

Copyright © Dana Prom Smith 2015

Dana Prom Smith and Freddi Steele edit Gardening Etcetera for the Arizona Daily Sun.  Smith blogs at http://highcountrygardener.blogspot.com and emails at stpauls@npgcable.com.

 

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