Vegetables: Bad Poetry

I saw a post on Facebook where someone had won the United States mother of the year award.

I read that just before going down to the kitchen to finally identify what the source of kitchen stench was. Pretty sure ‘mother of the year’ doesn’t have phantom death smells in her kitchen. I also managed to put the blinders on to avoid looking at the rest of the house while I went off to fight the odor battle.

I mean, my house isn’t so dirty that the government could come in and make us clean. Burning the house down is still not the best option and we would never qualify to be on the show HoardersStay the fuck out of the basement and I can still claim that last sentence is true. 

Pretty sure I wouldn’t even qualify for the ‘mother of the block’ award.

Vegetables in our house are like very short lived pets. I buy them with all kinds of good intentions. This week we will eat healthy! I am going to observe ‘meatless Monday’! I know, I’ll buy an eggplant! And an avocado!

Then throughout the week, a variation of this phone call takes place when I’m driving home from work:

Me: Are you cooking anything?

Randy: Did you want me to cook something?

Me: If you want. I mean, I’m not going to cook.

Randy: Taco Bell?

What happens to the vegetables (short lived pets) is they sit on the counter and become beacons of life for fruit flies.  Then the invariable ‘over ripe’ phase sets in, which in the avocado’s case , is five minutes after we get home from the store. This phase is followed by the ‘roma tomatoes have become soup’ phase. They are then disposed of, sometimes in a majestic cloud of fruit flies, and space is made for the next round of vegetables. Sometimes we go to the farmer’s market and I buy locally grown and organic vegetables. I feel especially smug when I’m throwing them away.

I decided this is an unfair end to the life of a vegetable. I mean, I’m probably not going to stop doing it, but I can least acknowledge a vegetable death through poetry.

I am not a poet. I know nothing about poetry and I probably haven’t written a poem since I was 19 years old, which is the birth year that women are required by law to write poetry.

But I am going to put my lack of experience and skill of poetry writing aside and do what I can to raise awareness for the plight of the vegetable. Through bad poetry.

Rose colored liquid suspended in a plastic bag

Hanging over the edge of the cutting board

That’s not good

Roma tomatos, you were meant for pork enchiladas 

And you were replaced by a double cheeseburger

With fries

You didn’t serve your intended purpose

But you were still gorgeous

At least until Thursday

I still haven’t found the source of stench in my kitchen. I also haven’t found that bag of peaches I bought last weekend.



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  • The stench in my kitchen is usually my sink from running the dishwasher. I do actually cook but with frozen veggies and it can get smelly sometimes. I like to fill my sink up with hot water and a cup of bleach and leave it for an hour. Then I rinse it out and scrub it with some Comet. Then I rinse that out. Usually the smell is gone. If not, then it’s the trash or something. The worst thing it could be is something in the fridge or cabinet. Remember my post on the sweet potatoes I left in my cabinet to die? Yeah, don’t leave sweet potatoes in a cabinet to die because they stank.

  • Put a small bowl of apple cider vinegar with a couple of drops of dish soap in it near your composter/veggie bowl. Fruit flies solved and you can still eat the cheeseburger (hold the tomato).

  • Your 19 year old line cracked me up this morning. Lord save me from reading any future 19 year old prose! There is a member of my family, I am not naming names, but he does not buy many fresh vegetable because he feels pressured by the vegetables to use them and then he feels badly when they go bad and told me he doesn’t need this kind of crap in his life so buys frozen. I tsked tasked, guess he is not alone.

  • We belong to a CSA. This means that every week in the summer we go to a farm and bring home more vegetables than we could possibly eat, and several that we don’t recognize. I am feeling increasingly guilty about the food waste, but damn, the corn is good.

  • I read a tweet one time, “When I have trouble making a choice at the farmer’s market, I just think, ‘Which of these fresh, seasonal vegetables would I most look forward to throwing away next week?'” (That may be 140 characters, but that was the gist of the post.) I don’t have as much of a problem with that because 1) I have kids who will eat them and 2) I do cook, because I have little kids, but I won’t say it never happens. I’ve tossed out my share of “wait, were these scallions or was this celery?” (when you can’t tell, you’ve crossed WAY over the line).

    • I opened up a container of whipped cream cheese this weekend that looked like tufts of vacuum cleaner dirt. I think it was about to take over the fridge.

  • I write poetry frequently and that’s actually a decent poem! I always have the fondest hopes for avocados….thanks for reminding me to check on the state of mine. Although I was just diagnosed with the mumps this morning (who the fuck gets the mumps in the 21st Century) so vegetables sound really gross right now…

  • after snortlaughing at my desk in agreement, I would like to agree with this haiku:

    ripe avocado
    waiting for guacamole
    why do you have hair

    every. single. time. 😐

  • I had never known true terror until the day I discovered a bag of potatoes in our cupboard that had liquefied into some sort of black tater sludge…I had to psych myself up to clean it because I was convinced it was going to reach out and grab me like the evil pink slime in Ghostbusters 2.
    Love your poem, by the way.

  • I have anosmia so I can’t smell those foul stenches. This is a good and a bad thing. But I do appreciate the soupy colored liquid imagery. And I adore your poetry. And I’m afraid to look in my produce drawer in the fridge.

  • Stink in my house was a dead mouse… (look it rhymes). Trouble was it took me around 4 days to figure it out. I kept scooping out the litter box bitching about how bad the cat stunk when in reality there was a teeny tiny bloated mouse corpse polluting the basement with the coppery rancid aroma of its decomposition. YUM!

  • Spent the entire weekend trying to de-funkify the house, still don’t know if I succeeded since I’m kinda use to the smelly little bugger (the house, not my kids, although them too).

  • When you get to the fruit-fly stage, consider sitting them out by the bird-feeder for a day before throwing them out. Hummingbirds love those little fuckers.
    My last job was at the Bay Area Organic Express (now SPUD), a business that delivers organic produce direct to people’s houses, and I always wondered how much of that stuff actually got eaten. I did my part, though. Anything with a blemish, a bad spot, or just didn’t look “right”, went into the employee box for us to take home, and boy did I ever. There were entire weeks when I subsisted on pears, bananas, and the occasional tomato or melon. Also, you don’t HAVE to make anything out of an avocado… My dad used to eat them with a little salt, but I don’t even bother with the salt.

  • Oh my, I feel like you were watching me clean out my fridge today! I felt so guilty that I have made a vow to cook more – or just go to the market less often.

  • Ha, I have mystery veggies in a bag at times too.. Not to worry, you pre-composted your veggies for nature. As for fruit flies, I like the traps at Gardeners Supply, or you can leave a little wine in an open narrow necked bottle. In the morning quickly cover the opening and wash the trapped buggers down the drain, don’t drink the wine.

  • YES YES YES to the ACV in a bowl with a lose covering and a few poked holes
    I have a veritable community of fruit flies living in my bowl

    • We have used that method before and it does work. They actually aren’t as bad this year…once the last of my houseplants died they mostly went away. Other than in the kitchen.

  • I used to have this unidentified stench thing going on in my kitchen too . . . and I’d clean and clean until you could perform surgery on the counters. Empty trash can, not a fruit fly to be seen.

    But still, the stench.

    Then someone finally told me cut a lemon into about 6 pieces and run it through the disposal in the sink.

    The stench magically vanished.

    It’s witchcraft I tells ya!!

  • Thanks to your reader who commented that apple cider vinegar + a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid = death to fruit flies. She saved my sanity!!

  • This is why my husband is not allowed to buy produce at Costco ever again. Who the fuck is going to cook ALL of that asparagus? Um, not this girl. I don’t even like it. I tell him to just buy frozen veggies as nature intended.

    • hahahah…that’s what we should do. Randy doesn’t like hardly any vegetables but asparagus. and we usually end up throwing it out anyway. plus the whole ‘makes your pee smell funny’ thing.

  • I probably shouldn’t be giggling quite so hard. Please get out of my kitchen.

    You know how in some refrigerators, the vegetable bin is clear? So you can see into it and through it? Like to the back bottom floor part of the fridge?

    Yeah. There’s something that got lodged back there. A while ago. Ok…months ago.

    It could be either a tomato or a jalapeno. And when alive, those two don’t even resemble each other, but yeah…it’s gotta be one of those. And one day I’ll fish back there and get it.


  • Because everyone knows just the act of buying fresh fruits and vegies automatically makes you feel happier and healthier, the eating part is actually redundant. Is what I tell myself.

  • The worst is when you don’t realize how far gone they are – and you stick your hand into the “crisper” (why do they call it that? It’s a fucking lie!) and grab what should be a relatively firm piece of produce – and your thumb goes right through it…and fruity (or worse, vegetably) death juices flow out and cover your hand and the bottom of the crisper drawer. And then the stink is unleashed. Baaaahhh!

  • ugh! I do this too. Sometimes I even count how much money I am throwing away, then the kitchen turns into a flurry of cooking veggies to be stored in the fridge until they need to go in the garbage to make room for the leftover pizza.

  • Oh yes! We constantly have scientific experiments brewing in the ‘fridge or kitchen counter!
    What’s with this Mom of the year award?! Good grief!

By Michelle


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