I lived my early life thinking that vegetables were a necessary but evil part of a meal. At my house my mother used the boil-to-death method of cooking carrots, peas, broccoli and corn on the cob. Asparagus, spinach, mushrooms and green beans came out of a can. Luckily she had never heard of eggplant. Meanwhile, my grandmother's beet-red borscht looked like a bowl of blood.