When we were kids, cooked vegetables were pretty predictable in our household: peas, corn, or green beans. Occasionally the peas would come with little carrot cubes -- now that was an adventure.
Near the small village of Lexingon, Michigan on the shores of Lake Huron where my grandmother kept her summer residence, there was a cannery that served the local farms. Peas, corn, and green beans grew abundantly on Michigan farms.
At the end of each season, the cannery would have a sale: all the unlabeled cans of vegetables that you wanted for 5 cents a can. Well, my mother could not pass up that kind of bargain. Several cases of silvery cans were loaded into the trunk of the car.
Once home, the treasure was stacked on the shelves of the basement pantry. Thus began the autumn and winter vegetable adventure. For six months every time that we need a vegetable for dinner, one of those unmarked silvery cans would make an appearance. As the can opener cracked the vacuum seal, many eyes would peer over the lip of the can -- peas, corn, beans. It seldom mattered what was for dinner, the vegetable became the perfect match.
We started betting on the outcome -- nickel a guess, 3 participants, winner take all. Statistically, it became clear that beans did not like to be labeled since beans came up much more often than peas or corn. Somewhere around February, my father decided that he was tired of vegetable roulette -- and Mom started buying peas and corn at 25 cents a can.
In spite of the bargain price, never again did my mother and grandmother stock up on unlabeled vegetable cans -- no more vegetable roulette -- just predictable peas, corn and beans.