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March 11, 2009

Spinach: The Street Cred King of the Refrigerator


Social scientists long ago noted the willing nature of segregation among foods. That is, the reason fruits and vegetables are stored in the same place in a refrigerator has little to do with the physical similarities of food, but is based on social considerations. The same would happen if you were to hold a party for everything in your refrigerator. Meats and cheeses would gather in one corner, fruits and vegetables in another and the breads and grains would hang out by the punch bowl.


As in real life, there are those who do not stick to this, that if allowed to would naturally fit in better with a different crowd. Spinach is one of those foods.


Much of this has to do with the well-known link between spinach and muscles, as outlined by that great food philosopher, Popeye the Sailor Man. Thanks in large part to popular image, spinach can come and go as it pleases within meat and protein circles. Among these foods, spinach has a great deal of street credibility.


This is important when it comes to cooking spinach in its frozen form. Although the tendency is to think of it as a vegetable, in purely social terms it is in fact meat. And what is cooking but the effort of introducing one kind of food to another in a way that fosters a mutually supportive and delicious relationship.


Start with some bacon. Fry it in a pan until it is crispy. Remove to a paper towel.


Toss some chopped onion into the hot bacon drippings. They will immediately turn brown and begin to soften. Add the frozen spinach and some chicken broth. Break up the spinach and mix in the onions.


Cover and let simmer. Every so often, lift the lid and stir the spinach and browned onion.


Once the spinach is warmed, crack two eggs into the pan and stir until the egg sets. Sprinkle over the top the crumbled pieces of bacon and add shredded Swiss cheese to the mix. If close to dry, add some more chicken stock until the cheese melts away into a sauce rather than sticky strands of cheese keeping everything tied together.


Cover and allow to simmer a little longer. This will not only add some warmth to the dish, but if the lid on your pot is transparent, you can observe plant life interacting with meat products as a social equal. The bacon and egg will no doubt still be impressed by spinachs reputation for manliness.


Salt and pepper to taste, and consider strongly either shaking on some crushed red pepper or some hot sauce. These are seasoning agents that cater naturally to meats and meat-like plants. Also, serve warm. The eatability of this dish diminishes as it cools.


2009 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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