Those Greens Did Nothing To You

I ordered the walleye, the famous local fish of Minnesota. Co-workers had raved about how delightful it was. Having never heard of it, and not thinking I could order it in the Bay Area, I took advantage of my time in Minneapolis to try this delicacy. The menu stated it came with a side of frites, fried shoestring potatoes. “Could I get a vegetable instead of the potatoes?” I asked the waiter. He leaned over, touching my shoulder. “Sure, princess.” This in itself caused me to pause.

I was not feeling like a princess. I was feeling like a bundled up, bloated eskimo. Unaccustomed to the dry air of the skyways, I had drunk, and drunk, and drunk even more water. During the afternoon meetings, catering brought in pitchers of ice water. I had gotten up so many times to refill my water glass that at one point a co-worker simply set the pitcher in front of me. It was drained within minutes. As was the second pitcher. And the third.

So there I sat, each cell in my body stretched to maximum capacity. My swimming eyes gazed up at the hipster who had just dubbed me “princess.” “So could I get a side salad with my walleye?” “You can choose from any of the sides. Right here.” I read the list. Then read it again.

Side dishes

Frites

Mashed garlic potatoes

Candied yams with apples

Rice

Creamed corn

When had green vegetables been banned from Minneapolis? What had the innocent greens done to the people of that fine city?

“Hmmm. Could I get a side salad instead of frites?” I inquired again. “Well, you can choose from a side.” “But I want a vegetable,” I persisted. “How about mashed potatoes? That’s a vegetable.” “I want a green vegetable. Can’t I get a side salad? Or some broccoli? Don’t you have something green back there in the kitchen?” “Let me see,” he relented.

He returned with an offer of asparagus. And fine asparagus it was, the two stalks that garnished my plate.

I wouldn’t have thought anything of it except that the next day, at our catered lunch, a bowl of salad arrived. Yeah! Salad. Greens. I was happy. Until. Until I actually inspected the salad bowl. Calling it a salad is stretching the definition of said word. In reality it was a bowl of croutons, smothered in Caesar salad dressing, shreds of Parmesan cheese clumped in gobs covering the surface, simply accented with a few strands of lettuce.

“So what do you people have against greens?” I asked, only to be met with blank stares. I’m sure they were thinking, “Those damn Californians.” Only they didn’t say it.

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