Arugula Demystified

I am sick of people using food to exacerbate perceived divisions. Just yesterday a state representative invoked “arugula” to conjure feelings of “us” and “them.” How is it that a salad green has come to represent elites, or in this case ignorant, elitist city-folk? Remember Obama’s so-called “arugula moment” in mid-2007? Ridiculous. It grows in the wild and is easy to cultivate, for goodness sake! What’s the big deal? It’s been hijacked as a political tool (remember “freedom fries”?). Could it be that Californians have actually gotten more informed about food and agriculture and that’s why they voted for Proposition 2? What do you think?

Arugula Demystified:

“Also known as rocket or roquette, depending on the language you are speaking, arugula is a tall-growing, hearty green that will reseed itself throughout the garden without regard for any taming border lines the gardener has established.”
Gardeners’ Community Cookbook

“Whether you call it roquette (French), arugula (Italian), or rocket (English), it’s a salad green with a spicy tang somewhere between that of cress and horseradish. If you want to try it, you’ll have to grow your own.
Fortunately, no spring or autumn crop could be easier to grow. In a sunny garden spot, either sow seeds thinly in a row, or scatter them in a patch.”
-Sunset Illustrated Guide to Vegetable Gardening


Photo by JasonUnbound

6 thoughts on “Arugula Demystified

  1. Personally I don’t like things like Proposition 2 because the unintended consequences of government regulations have tentacles that usually end up hurting those that the well intentioned rules were meant to protect, while the big corporate giants deftly maneuver within the new guidelines.

    You think a few new rules are going to effect a Tyson? They’ll just spend the necessary billions to adapt. What about the artisan veal farmer? Or the small foie gras farm? What if new rules like these effect the quality of their product, and thus their sales? I guess we can take solace that they can at least sell out to Cargill and move to the suburbs.

  2. Vines & Cattle – As far as I understand it, Proposition 2 is meant to protect animals, not producers. Likewise, the goal of the bill was not to put Tyson out of business. If there are small producers who, like Tyson, aren’t giving their animals enough room to turn around in their own feces, then I hope you are correct in your fear that they will be affected by the bill. Even small family farms don’t have a right to abuse animals so that those of us in the suburbs can have a piece of specialty meat.

    Tricia – I don’t think I like arugula. Can you saute it like spinach or chard? I might like it that way.

  3. I was completely mystified about the whole Arugula-flap last year. What the heck? We are elitist because we eat something that grows in the ground and has been eaten for hundreds of years?? I don’t get it. (And never mind the stink wafting from the big-business-big-money (elitist??) side of the aisle…)

    About the time the Obama thing happened my dad wanted to get into a political discussion and made a disparaging remark about arugula. I reminded him that I grew loads of arugula and then the next time I visited him we had a lovely arugula salad. He had to admit that he liked it…

    Also – I think you can saute arugula. It should hold up.

  4. I hope you are correct in your fear that they will be affected by the bill. Even small family farms don’t have a right to abuse animals so that those of us in the suburbs can have a piece of specialty meat.

    You can do far more by choosing what foods you buy according to how it’s raised rather than forcing mandates on people. That smells of a certain totalitarianism, but hey if you know better for people I guess it’s your right to enforce your views on them.

    Oh and define abuse.

  5. I couldn’t agree more that people should vote with their money, so to speak, and I do. But I also think that a government that doesn’t look out for those who can’t look out for themselves isn’t one worth having. And this issue goes beyond animals. Consumers have a right to know how their food is being produced, and there are good reasons to believe that CAFOs lead to the production of potentially hazardous and inferior products over the long term. Bills like this one also serve to educate, bringing issues to the forefront so that citizens can make informed decisions and purchases.

    I can’t define cruelty, but that video didn’t make me more comfortable with foie gras. The process didn’t strike me as “artisan.”

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