When I was growing up, my family often ate at a cafeteria-style restaurant at the mall on Sundays after church.
My sisters and I always asked for one of the hamburgers, which were displayed in a single layer of juice and decorated with confetti toothpicks. We never liked the taste of the meat, but we were thrilled to get the colorful toothpicks.
In addition, a splash of green came with our order.
“What is that?” I remember asking my mother as I pricked the green leafy mystery with the tines of my thick fork.
“It’s parsley. It’s a garnish,” my mother explained.
“Do you eat it?” I asked.
“You can,” she said.
I remember putting the parsley in my mouth and then quickly spitting it out. Garnish became something I refused to eat, like the liver and onions my mom liked to order and the yellow grits and fried bologna served in my school cafeteria.
Some things people eat once and decide “never again.”
This year, in the spring when The Green Thumbs purchased herbs to plant in our community garden, parsley came with the cilantro and basil plants. Still holding my grudge against the cafeteria garnish of my childhood, I’ve been skipping the parsley row of the garden when the kids and I come to pick.
We planted a lot of parsley. I don’t think four families can eat that much parsley. It’s probably enough to garnish all of the plates in my grade school cafeteria on grits and bologna day.
To thin out some of the crop, The Green Thumbs sponsored a parsley challenge. The idea was for each of us to take some parsley home and share our recipes.
To participate, I had to change my attitude from “never again” to “how about now.”
To my delight, fresh parsley tastes much better than the rubbery flavored garnish I ate years ago.
One Green Thumb mom recently shared her grilled corn on the cob with my family. She put butter, salt, and parsley on fresh corn, then wrapped the cobs inside foil and grilled them outside. The corn was delicious.
Here’s another good recipe that includes parsley:
MUSHROOM AND PARSLEY EGG NOODLES
1 (8-ounce) package medium egg noodles
3 chicken bouillon cubes
5 Tablespoons butter
1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh button mushrooms
¼ cup finely chopped parsley or basil
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Prepare pasta according to package directions, adding chicken bouillon cubes to water. Meanwhile, melt 4 Tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms, and sauté 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates and mushrooms are golden brown. Remove from heat. Stir in chopped parsley, noodles and remaining 1 Tablespoon butter. Stir in pepper to taste.