Thoughts While Bug-Checking Produce


Oh my gosh. Why do I do this? Why does Bodek lettuce cost so much money? Because this is tedious, and annoying. So why do I love it? Oh look, a bug. Where’s my paper towel? Ugh this is why I don’t paint my nails. Is this how kollel men make some side money for their eight children? Is that offensive? Why should I be so judgemental of- there’s a bug. Or is that dirt? Who cares Ayala, you don’t want to eat dirt. Someone once told me all the bugs like to hang out in the white part of the leaf, and I almost always find bugs there so- what’s a shift of bug checking look like at the Bodek factory? Do they just buy thousands of bags of Andy Boy lettuce and check them for bugs? Bug. No wonder religious Jews are so susceptible to OCD. Didn’t I read an article about that? My forearms and elbows are soaked, the water is slowly trickling…gross. Ugh. Now I need to pee. I should be doing 3-4 heads of lettuce at once on Sundays- when was the last time I just spent Sunday at home? I don’t remember. There is always so much- bug. There’s a beauty to doing this, sitting with my about-to-be-salad, checking for bugs. If I used this kind of attitude in my daily life, I would be a much more- bug. Isn’t lettuce mostly water? Am I checking water for bugs? I know there are Jews who do that, and let’s get real, there are bugs- in everything. Ones you can see and ones you don’t. Ugh this is turning into a metaphor again. Five more leaves to go!


I miss not being frum-swishswishswishswish-according to the CRC you must vigorously swish the water-splash-swish-swish-swish. Black spots on white vegetation are relatively easy to find… I wish they made chairs or floor poufs in the shape of cauliflower that you could just sink int- bug. Bug. bug. OH HEY BUG. Did I not cut enough of the stem? My body is a vessel, a vessel for God’s work, and I do not want to damage that vessel with bugs. Oh hey bug! Remember that episode of House where that patient thought they were covered in bugs? Who was the first person who looked at a cauliflower and was like “Oh! A vegetable cloud! I wanna eat that!”

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Brussels Sprouts

Wow, when God created the world, he wanted to create something so small, yet contained multitudes of layers. Ok, that’s infested. Toss. Remember when Deddy grew brussel sprouts in the garden and they were ready right on time for Thanksgiving and we made them and they tasted like a vegetable we’ve never had before? Sweet, mild, cabbagey? It would be so cool to make a stuffed brussels sprout like a stuffed cabbage recipe. Super infested. Toss. I wonder how much more we would connect to Judaism if we all had to still grow our own produce. Imagine that, not being able to ever have apples in the dead heat of summer, storing wheat and barley for the winter. Making preserved foods not because it’s trendy but because scurvy doesn’t sound fun. Throw that one out. Do I have enough maple syrup to make all these brussel sprouts?


Remember in seminary when we walked in between morning and afternoon seder and Leah was showing us how to bug-check strawberries? She was making a picnic for her chatan and her future father-in-law. Bug. She showed me how much salt to pour into the water, how to shake the fruits vigorously to loosen the bugs and handed a half to me to prove how it didn’t alter the taste? Bug. The strawberries in Israel are so sweet, so flavorful, it’s like an artificially flavored candy. You know, the ones in the twisted red wrapper that have a strawberry seed- that’s not a seed, that’s a bug. I didn’t realize then that you had to check vegetables for bugs, I thought you just wash them, that’s what Deddy always did… Remember the first time he came over after we got married and he stared at me like I was crazy when I started washing and checking lettuce? Good thing I like doing this. Ok I can eat just one now…