At the beginning of the season, my local CSA (community supported agriculture) farm gave me a choice: full share or half share. Faced with this decision, I felt a peculiar emotion. I pride myself on feeding myself and my husband vegetables aplenty, and although a full share is enough for a family of four, I checked the “full” option because I felt the overwhelming need to prove that two real vegetable eaters like us would have no problem with it. I call that healthier-than-thou feeling “vegismo” (on the machismo model).
Turns out vegismo, like so many emotions, can steer you wrong. By mid-July, the vegetables were coming thick and fast. One of my winning strategies to use all that fresh produce is couscous. Combine it (I use the whole wheat kind) with large quantities of almost any vegetable, and dress it up with a couple of flavors reminiscent of the part of the world whence it came—olives, pine nuts, feta cheese, raisins or chopped dates, mint, cardamom, cumin, and lemon—and you can have a wonderfully different dish for dinner practically every night of the week. Use a boxed couscous mix and you’ll get it to the table in double time.
By Tamar Haspel, a writer in New York CIty.