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Sunday, June 20, 2021
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    Canned Spinach

    Mike Ruby
    A Muscatine resident for over forty years, Mike Ruby had careers both as a teacher at Muscatine High school and as a writer for nonprofit companies. Now retired, Ruby continues to cultivate his love for writing by contributing monthly Ruby's Reflections to Discover Muscatine newspaper.

    Muscatine Living

    Growing up, we always had dinner as a family around our small kitchen table. We did not have a garden, so Mother relied heavily on canned vegetables as she planned menus. Back then, there was not the wide variety of frozen foods that are available today. The trusty manual can opener, with a red handle, was bolted to a kitchen cabinet. Over the years, Mother opened thousands of cans of green beans, kidney beans, lima beans, creamed corn, peas, beets, stewed tomatoes, carrots, soup, pork and beans, hominy, peaches, pears, plums, apricots, Spam, tuna, and fruit cocktail.

    Occasionally, Mother placed a bowl of canned spinach, hot off the stove, on the table. Seriously, I wanted to puke. It was slimy, gross, and disgusting. I definitely am not a picky eater, but when it came to canned spinach, I drew the line.

    Granted, there were some foods I liked better than others, but I was frequently reminded to be grateful for the food that was served and for the hands that prepared it. Usually I kept opinions to myself if it involved negative thoughts about what we were having for dinner, but when it came to canned spinach, I couldn’t remain silent.

    When canned spinach was served, I balked, pleaded, begged, threatened, and cried until I ran out of energy and had no more fight left in me. I was required to take at least one bite of that nasty green glob on my plate and was reminded that Popeye loved it. Well, good for him.

    I vividly recall at age 5 or 6, closing my eyes, holding my nose, and taking one tiny bite, swallowing it as fast as I could and then grabbing a glass of milk to get the horrible taste out of my mouth. It was full blown drama, and the folks were not the least impressed.

    To this day, I hate canned spinach. When I see it at grocery stores I still shudder, thinking about those awful times when I was forced to eat the disgusting stuff. Today, there usually is a supply of fresh spinach in our refrigerator and I enjoy it in sandwiches and salads. Fresh spinach is awesome, canned is gross, no matter how old I am. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

    What is your story about a least favorite food?

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