Popeye the Sailor man . . . you know who I’m talking about . . . the creepy bug eyed spinach-eating swabbie. When he first appeared in the funny papers in 1929 Popeye was 34 years old. He was short in stature for the times 5'6",and weighs 158 lbs (the average male height in the 1930’s in the
was 5’9”). US
Perhaps that’s why he felt the need to eat healthy and consume copious quantities of vitamin rich spinach. Why does spinach make him the super strength man Olive Oyl loves? That is when she’s not running after Bluto or Brutus or whatever his name is.
Let me digress for a moment to clear that whole thing up. Bluto was introduced in 1929 as a throw-away character and was soundly defeated by Popeye with a “twisker” punch.
In 1930, they wanted to spice things up and entered Olive Oyl as Popeye’s love interest, the twiggy, goofball babe with the nubby on the back of her head. To further stir the pot, in strolls the strapping Bluto who is constantly causing Popeye trouble and attempting to obscond with his woman. Bluto was now “emeny” number one! Bluto remain Bluto for 30 years. In 1956,
Popeye was sold to a television syndicate but the question arose as to who owned Bluto, so welcome Brutus. Brutus remained the nemisis for nearly 20 years until a new company bought Popeye; Brutus was out and Bluto was back. There you have it . . . BLUTO - BRUTUS – BLUTO.
Okay so why does Popeye prefer spinach over say . . . carrots or broccoli? It’s all a conspiracy directed squarely at the kiddies. Everyone knows that kids hate spinach . . . except me, I always loved it . . . anyhoo, Popeye likes spinach and Popeye is one cool kitty! So if Popeye likes spinach and it makes him big and strong then spinach must be uber cool!
But why spinach? Why not something else kids hate to eat? A typo in a published study that stated that spinach contained ten times the amount of iron it really has. Once the truth was discovered Popeye wasn’t about to start eating collard greens . . . that's not Popeye's style. "I yam what I yam, and that's all that I yam!"
That’s not to say spinach isn’t a superfood, because it is. But if a silly cartoon can get kids to eat something that’s good for them . . . no harm done.
My favorite way of enjoying spinach is simply to sauté it with garlic and olive oil. Spinach is mostly water so when you cook it it wilts down to almost nothing; one pound of spinach will reduce to one cup cooked.
If buying spinach loose, choose leaves that are crisp and have dark green with a nice fresh fragrance. Avoid those that are limp, damaged, or spotted.
1 lb. fresh = 10 cups; 1 to 1 1/2 c. cooked
10 oz. frozen = 1 1/2 cups; 1 c. cooked and drained
Loose spinach can be very gritty, so it must be thoroughly rinsed (it can't be washed enough). It grows in sandy soils that seem to cling to the growing leaves.
The easiest way to wash spinach is to put it into a sink or large container of cold water. Remove stems by twisting or cutting spinach leaves off just above stem line and immerse in water. Swish leaves around, and then let them stand for a few minutes while dirt sinks to the bottom.
Thoroughly dry by using a salad spinner or by blotting with paper towels.
Sautéed Spinach with Garlic (1 serving)
Super quick and easy vegetable side dish . . . yummers!
- 1 Bag Baby Spinach
- 3-5 Cloves Of Garlic
- 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oyl
- 1 Tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
You can use bunch spinach for this recipe. Spinach leaves usually contain dirt and sand so it may take a few rounds of soaking and rinsing to before you get all the grit out.
Heat olive oil a large sauté pan with over medium heat for one minute. Add 3 to 5 cloves of crushed garlic (depending on your taste) to the sauté pan. Make sure the pan is not too hot so you don't burn the garlic. Stir the garlic around the pan for a few minutes until cooked lightly.
Add the package of spinach to the sauté pan and stir until the leaves just begin to wilt. Season with kosher salt and pepper.
Keep stirring the spinach so that it cooks evenly. Cook until all leaves are wilted.
Serve and enjoy.