Leafy, Green Not My Favorite Color

Published: Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 10:38 AM.

            My wife, who once served us an asparagus casserole, contends that the dish has become fashionable, or a chic food, much like fried green tomatoes. She said it like that “legitimized” the consumption of the stuff. The only thing fried green tomatoes had over asparagus was they didn’t ruin the mashed potatoes when placed side by side on your plate. And if possible, they were even easier to obtain. Mom just sent me, Leon or David Mark out to the garden to “pull a couple” before breakfast.

            I had the opportunity to eat at the infamous “Golden Lantern” in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, a few years back. Our host raved about the fried green tomatoes appetizer. It was the widely advertised specialty of the house. My good southern upbringing kept me from verbalizing my doubts. We ate those things out of necessity down at the end of Stonewall Street. I would have much preferred a City Café hamburger, a malted shake from Frank’s Dairy Bar or a Chocolate Soldier and a Moon Pie from Pat Houston’s Grocery. How could anything we used to walk out in the backyard and pick before daylight become a specialty of the house?  

            I figured I was in for a treat. This “Golden Lantern” must’a discovered a secret recipe for fried green tomatoes. Maybe they melted Hershey Bars over them, covered them with caramel ice cream or soaked them in a Root Beer float. You can image my disappointment when the famous, chic, hot-to-trot, modern fried green tomatoes turned out to be……fried green tomatoes.

            Let me tell you, I’ve eaten not fully ripe tomatoes BEFORE and AFTER they became fashionable. Being fashionable didn’t do one thing for the taste. And it is the same for the asparagus weed. You can dress it up by sprinkling cheese sauce and mushroom slices over the top, you can advertise it to the cows come home, you can feature it on the cover of Bon Appétit Magazine and have it personally sautéed by the Iron Chef. But you can’t change the taste……and that, dear hearts, is the major flaw in the dish. I rest my case forever.  




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