Hittin’ the juice

Henri is feeling especially fruity thanks to his new juicer

Henri was deeply concerned. I feared that my dear sister, Colette, bless her coeur, had gone totally insane.

It was a recent, otherwise fine summer noon, and I had just risen to face the day. I walked into the kitchen, and there she was, standing at the counter, plunging all manner of raw leaves and vegetables into the chute of a grinding, moaning blender-like monstrosity whose two spouts were vomiting a vile-looking dark green ooze into one plastic container and disgorging a multi-hued offal into another.

Sacre bleu! I shook my head and rubbed my eyes.

“Look what I bought,” she said. “A juicer!”

“A what?”

“A juicer!” She reached down and shut off the motor, then actually poured some of the hideously disgusting sludge into a drinking glass. I had to turn away.

“Mmmm,” she said. “Delicious.”

I took a breath, turned back, and she offered me the glass. I almost tossed mes biscuits but regained my composure. “No, thank you,” I said. Firmly.

“It’s better than it looks,” she said, “and so good for you—especially after how bad we’ve been eating.”

She was right about that. We’d just returned from a little jaunt in Pierre around the Western states, and we’d been eating road food. I did need to eat better. I needed to get back to truffles, cassoulets and crème brl"e.

She took another long swallow. “I’m going to call this one Green GRUB Goodness.”

Turns out everything she had used to make her little concoction had come from that week’s produce share from our local CSA, GRUB: kale, beets, carrots, Asian cucumber, carrots and tomatoes.

“Here,” she said, offering me the glass. “If you take one tiny sip I’ll make you anything you want for breakfast.”

“My bacon-and-Camembert omelet?”

“With pleasure.”

And so, as the song goes, I held my nose, I closed my eyes. I took a drink.

And, I’m surprised to say, it wasn’t that bad. “It’s, well, interesting,” I said.

She smiled. “And you can add just about anything you want and it just keeps getting better.”

“Well, then let’s put some gin in that bad garçon.”

She scowled.

“My omelet, ma’am.”

That was a couple of weeks ago, and I have to admit, I’ve come around. Some. In fact, I’ve actually made several very drinkable juices myself. In addition to the juicer, Colette also bought The Juicing Bible, which has scores of recipes, though it’s more fun just to go the refrigerator and start pulling stuff out—I always add something sweet: apples, peaches, bananas.

The book also has a long introductory section covering the “benefits” of juicing, though I find myself a bit skeptical about some of the claims. Supposedly, juicing regularly is good for the cardiovascular, digestive and immune systems, and can benefit sufferers of everything from anemia and gout to insomnia, lupus and various skin conditions. (One morning, I found a yellow sticky note on the page that discusses flatulence.) There’s also an alphabetical listing on the benefits of every fruit, vegetable and herb imaginable.

The two main types of juicers range in price from $40-$400. Masticating juicers use a single auger to “chew” the fruits and vegetables slowly, resulting in more vitamins and nutrients. Centrifugal juicers use a shredding disk and high RPMs and are less efficient and, though less expensive, will not work with leafy greens such as spinach and kale.

Colette bought an Omega Vert masticating juicer ($350)—she figured that if she bought a high-end one that she’d be more likely to use it. Which seems to be true. She’s made juice just about every day for the last few weeks. Sometimes she makes a double batch, and sometimes I join her. Sometimes not. Sometimes she puts what I don’t drink in the refrigerator. Sometimes I take it out of the refrigerator later and add my own ingredients. Sometimes straight from the bottle.