Re cooking vegetables to death, you guys should look for the book "The Good Old Days - They Were Terrible!" It's a funny, yet frightening, look at how unhealthful food was in the late 19th century.
"Chapter 7, Food and Drink Summary and Analysis
The average citizen of the late 19th century was forced to subsist on a monotonous, simple diet that was oftentimes far from healthful.
There was no meat-packing industry. Meat arrived "on the hoof," that is, live, on rail. Many cows were dying of starvation or sick well before the slaughterhouse. Meat was often decayed, or left to hang outdoors, which meant very quick deterioration. One might think many citizens would turn to vegetables given this kind of meat, but in fact vegetables were widely blamed for a cholera epidemic in 1832, and people were still distrustful of fruit and vegetables."
Since effective antibiotics were not generally available to the public until the 1950s, and most people had no health insurance, it's no wonder fear of vegetables persisted well into the 20th. They cooked them that much to avoid getting sick.
The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again. ~ George Miller