Sunday, December 1, 2013

R.I.P. Green Giant

I grew up with the Green Giant. Society was in the midst of change, on the cusp of the women's lib movement. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, always there when we came home from school and always making sure dinner was a family affair. She volunteered at church and was a member of several clubs and organizations, but she didn't hold a paying job. Several of her friends were teachers and nurses and my mom had a college degree, but society hadn't yet accepted the fact that women could hold significant positions in business, law, or medicine. So life for my mom revolved around our family, making sure that all the parts ran smoothly.
Even though my mom almost always made dinner, her cooking was pretty basic. I remember meatloaf, pot roast, and spaghetti were in the regular rotation. Side dishes were often potatoes, jello, and Green Giant vegetables boiled in a bag.
I suppose Green Giant was a breakthrough for women in the kitchen at that time. No longer did you have to go to the market to purchase fresh vegetables. You could pull a box out of the freezer and have vegetables on your plate in just a matter of minutes. How easy! How quick! But, oh, how flavorless…
I remember liking the corn, probably because of the buttery sauce. I think the green beans were like plastic, and the carrots tasted like cardboard. Yet, housewives embraced the idea of the convenience of filling the plates. And with the help of the Green Giant, kids got their vegetables.
I know the Green Giant still exists today and fills a need for quick side dishes. I, however, have chosen to go in a different direction. In about the same amount of time it took my mother to take the Green Giant from freezer to plate, I can cut fresh vegetables, drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning, and roast them to a caramelized deliciousness. I have to believe the taste is better and the nutritional value is improved. At least at our house, I say "R.I.P. Green Giant."

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