I bought a big bunch of fresh, local spinach yesterday. I bought it because it was big, fresh and local; I don’t have a particular affinity for nor experience with this vegetable. Generally I don’t care for the gritty texture but I know it’s supposed to be good for me and it’s in season and well, now I have spinach in my house.

Last night I put it on pizza with some pepper salami, fresh basil and garlic on top of the mozzarella for a nice roasty flavour. Delicious. I still have a big bag in my fridge, though and I don’t want it to go bad so tonight it’s spinach for dinner.

Saint Aardvark’s go-to for recipes is the Joy of Cooking. Mine is the Internet. This morning I went to the JoC and looked up spinach for some exciting recipe or other. I found an entry about creaming your spinach (this sassy euphemism needs a home!) which does not appeal to me so much, involving, as it does, boiling the crap out of the fresh vegetable and then adding heavy cream and blending it. Don’t get me started on our bad luck with implements that blend. One of these days I’ll be strong enough to give you the whole story.

But what really startled me was that the entry on spinach started with, “One of the more controversial greens, this is believed to inhibit the body’s absorption of calcium…We recommend throwing caution to the winds and enjoying it in moderation.”

First, is there such a thing as a controversial vegetable? I guess if the Joy of Cooking says so. And second, would the solution not be to eat it apart from calcium rich foods? Wild thing! And third, the idea of eating spinach being a way of somehow rebelling against something (cheetos culture?) is just darn hilarious.

If only it wasn’t a really hot day, I’d do the spinach, tomato and cheese loaf. I do love a nice loaf. Even if the recipe does tell you to cook the spinach first, before baking it for half an hour. Would there be any vitamins LEFT at that point? Or are you destroying the iron so that you may better absorb the calcium in the cheese?

Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m not even going to check the Internet. I’m going to grill some chicken. Make some couscous. Cut up the grilled chicken to couscous. Add spinach, cherry tomatoes, zucchini. Make a dressing, probably the same one I made last week for a couscous salad; lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper. I might use some orange juice too. Refrigerate. Eat. I share this with you in case you, too, have a big bag of spinach in your house on a very hot day and have no idea what to do with it.

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