Couch Cat: Yucky foods …Liver, turnips, lima beans and beets

28 June 2019
Author   Jackie Wilson Asheeke
We all have foods that we hated to eat as children.  Some of us still hate to eat those foods now as adults.  As a kid, my most hated dinner in the world contained liver, turnips, lima beans and/or beets. 
Times are different now than when I was young, so my mom didn’t care much what I didn’t like, dinner menus were about nutrition, speed of cooking (she was at work all day) and her food budget.  But, I rebelled regularly in the face of yucky foods.
I had a dog named Timmy back then.  He was a beagle and lived until the age of 14 largely because he loved liver, turnips, lima beans and beets.  He would plant himself under the table (hidden by the table cloth) under my feet and I would shovel the yucky foods off my plate and onto the floor.  Timmy never missed a thing; my mom didn’t either.   She caught me feeding the dog all the time.  I was punished for ‘wasting food while so many other people are starving.’  Still, it didn’t stop the dog-feeding frenzy.
As a result of my yucky food rebellion, the dog loved me and my mother was annoyed.  My older siblings thought it was hilarious and my father didn’t have a clue about the whole thing.
However, times change.  Since childhood, I have come to enjoy eating thinly sliced, spiced beef liver with sautéed onions and apple slices.  I have surprised myself at this.   I also like making ‘dirty rice’ using kidney beans, peppers, and onions with chicken livers and duck liver pâté with a warm buttery brioche is divine.  I relent!  Liver is no longer a yucky food. 
I read that liver is considered a ‘superfood.’  It is rich in protein, low in calories (inexpensive!) and packed with vitamins and minerals.  My mom was correct to try to make me eat it as a growing child. 
Still, turnips are the most irredeemably disgusting food on the entire planet.  In fact, I would cheer if someone dug up all of them, set them afloat on an ocean barge and then dropped bomb on it.  
I read that turnips are (as mom used to always say) ‘good for you.’  They're loaded with fibre and vitamins K, A, C, E, B1, B3, B5, B6, B2 and folate, as well as manganese, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and copper.  Perhaps it is exactly because they are so vitamin packed that they taste so horrible. 
Lima beans (which contain many of the same vitamins and minerals of turnips) were served by my mom with corn in a dish called succotash.  OMG.  I want to vomit at the memory.  As a kid, I used to eat the pieces of corn around the lima beans and leave the disgusting beans for Timmy. 
Beets still give me no joy.  When I lived in Germany, I tried eating them diced up in a cold salad with pickled red cabbage, onions and spices and I tried eating grilled, meat-spiced slabs of beetroot.  My stomach still heaves at the very thought of the dark red, nasty roots.   And yet, beets are a great source of nutrients, including fibre, folate and vitamin C; they may help to lower blood pressure.
I like watching the cooking shows like MasterChef Australia (my favourite) and the people there hail and praise beetroot.   I saw one contestant make beetroot ice cream!   I can’t imagine what lunacy has overtaken these people as they call beets “delicious and sweet.” 
The world’s supply of beets and lima beans should be added to the turnip barge in the ocean awaiting a bombing run.
Getting kids to eat nutritious foods will forever remain a challenge.  But, as adults, we can make the decision to ban certain foods from our lives and balance our personal diets in other ways.  I say, Namibia should levy a national ban on yucky beets, lima beans and turnips, while encouraging people to eat all kinds of liver as a cheaper, nutritionally beneficial diet plan.  So, down with turnips, up with liver!


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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