“None of these leaves are good?”
As far as helpful conversations went, that was right up there with “Hot enough for ya’?” and “Hey, you’re bleeding out of both ears! You OK?”
Malabar spinach harvesting is no easy matter.
First you have to convince this spinach. This involves a lengthy conversation with an uncooperative vine which has wrapped itself into the Gordian Knot (remember that one?) of complicated vine-ness. And it’s not just one vine—oh, no. It’s about a thousand on one plant.
Then you have work quickly because the leaves (the part you eat) get surly very quickly. You cut each and every leaf off the vine individually, inspecting for wear, tear, and wildlife as you go, and graciously cutting the remaining vine and unusable leaves into smallish pieces so they can be taken out to the compost pile.
After that, you wash and dry the remaining leaves and then, and only then, can you begin the process of cooking.
Since the ratio of compost to usable plant material is about 400 to 1, you can imagine the whole thing takes a while.
And the last thing one wants at the end of the process is to have someone peer into the bag (did I mention how nicely cut up the compost was?) and insinuate that you might have overlooked some small portion of edible spinach.
“Wait, I wasn’t supposed to keep the bad ones and toss the good ones?”
“I left them for you to go through.”
Being in a nice mood (and by “nice” I mean not in the mood to be questioned about why I murdered my husband), I opted for The Look.
To his credit, Dad correctly interpreted The Look and immediately said, “How ‘bout I take out the compost? Right now.”
Good recovery, Dad.