filling the empty nest with food
Generous use of parsley runs in my family. My grandmother, who as an amateur nutritionist got her start soon after the USDA published its first dietary recommendations in 1917, had a rule that a properly healthy meal had to have at least five vegetables on the plate. Parsley’s dark vibrant green could be included as one of the veggies and we trustingly ate it as part of our meals with her. Which is how it came to be eaten in my family, in great quantities and with much enjoyment. (Eating parsley was not a punishment; Nana taught us to love all vegetables.)
Until the time my youngest sister, at the height (or is it the depths?) of her teenage years, yelled in exasperation at my mother to stop using so much parsley: “Parsley is not a vegetable!!”, she screamed in righteous adolescent frustration.
Well, whether parsley is vegetable or herb, late summer is a perfect time for dishes that call for large quantities. Tabbouleh is one of my favorites. It’s light and makes wonderful use of late summer vegetables.
Recipes for tabbouleh abound, so when you choose one, just be sure it includes (along with the bulgar, of course) tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, a good amount of lemon juice in the dressing, mint, and, of course enough parsley to qualify as a vegetable.
And be sure to save a sprig or two for the garnish.