Spinach - © pantrygardenherbs.com

You Know You’re Getting Older When…

This is a tale with several themes – or, if you like, a cat with several tails. I was scrolling through one of my Food News feeds this morning and came upon what I thought was some kind of joke. Iconic elements of the culture I grew up with have been lost to the current generation of young adults…

Popeye and Spinach - © United Artists Cartoons“I yam what I yam!” Popeye used to say. And he owed it all to Spinach!

Okay, here’s the skinny: A twenty-something contestant on Family Feud Canada recently lost out on (C)$10,000 when she answered incorrectly what for me would have been a give-away question.

“What is Popeye’s favourite food?” asked host Gerry Dee.

“Chicken!” said the gal, without hesitation.

Now, folks of my generation grew up with Popeye cartoons, and we just assume everybody knows Popeye’s favourite food is Spinach, which he gobbles to give him strength. He regularly beat up Bluto and even – apparently – defeated the Japanese in the Pacific single-handedly in the Second World War on a Spinach diet. But Popeye and his cronies from the 40s and even the 50s were long ago taken off the Saturday morning cartoon airwaves due to non-PC content. So, several generations (about three by my count) have grown up without them. No wonder the contestant thought the question referred to Popeye’s Fried Chicken. Add to that the awareness factor that the launch last summer of Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich gave the brand, and it’s easy to see how the kid got mixed up.

And the Family Feud incident went viral on social media. But there’s a saying in the Fast Food business that, when God closes an oven door, he opens a takeout window. Thus it was that the contestant was Tweeted by Popeye’s Chicken:

“Our survey says you got that right. DM us to claim your $10,000 worth of Popeye’s. #LoveThatChickenFromPopeyes.”

Well, what do you know!

Spinach’s many benes also lost on the young

Alas, Spinach, which used to be a staple Leafy Green on North American supper tables, has also lost popularity dramatically over the past couple of decades. Sure, you still get it ion Quiche – but that’s French. And you also get it in Samosas – but that’s Asian. So what are we missing out on by shunning Spinach? The answer is, ‘Lots!’

According to medicalnewstoday.com: “Spinach is a superfood. It is loaded with tons of nutrients in a low-calorie package. Dark, leafy greens like spinach are important for skin, hair, and bone health. They also provide protein, iron, vitamins, and minerals.”

Spinach is abundant in Calcium (good for bone health), Magnesium, Potassium, Folate and Vitamin C. In fact, it’s one of best of the Dark Green Leafy Veggies out there for nutritional content. And 1 cup / 250 ml of raw spinach contains only 7 Calories. That’s why some (including medicalnewstoday.com) cal it a Super Food.

It’s cheap and easy!

Spinach is available in the produce section of virtually every supermarket and it’s less costly than some other ‘salad greens’. It’s good for you no matter how you take it – cooked or raw. I like a nice Spinach Salad with some Boiled Chicken and Mandarin Orange sections on top and a simple Olive or Sesame Oil Vinaigrette. I also add some pan-toasted Peanuts to elevate the dish’s Asian profile.

But that’s just one way to enjoy this neglected Super Food. Google ‘Spinach’ and you’ll get back a mere 140 million results!

~ Maggie J.