It has been brought to my attention that certain people are still loafing around on the other site: it is fine as we will not be actually beginning the final close down until after Christmas but it is my intention to make it quite inhospitable over the next few weeks. I have already removed much of the plumbing which will make it difficult for gentlemen of a certain age.
I am sure you all agree that it is much more comfortable over here: I am hoping that the teething problem we had with the high pressure bidet will be sorted today – my apologies to anybody who incurred embarrassing bruising
This week I wish to talk about vegetables: I realise that I am treading on the toes of Mark Diacono who is the Oberleutnant of Edible Plants. He gets very sniffy if those of us who are more finely groomed and aesthetically tuned stray from flowers into the vegetable patch but there is a giddy limit, you know…..
I have recently watched the Gardeners World from the 29th October. Yes, I am lagging somewhat but I am otherwise occupied as I have to go and have my shoulder cut open on 15th and after that I will be unable to drive for a week so am frantically tying up loose ends. I am also still very busy being cross (although the bulb people have been forgiven the rose man is in the serious poo) and all that Harrumphing takes both time and effort.
So…Gardeners World. The one with my clever friend Rachel Warne chattering about photography and Toby taking seeds from his enormous pumpkin.
It is that pumpkin with which I have a bit of a problem. I can forgive the fact that it looks like the fleshy and overhanging stomach apron of a particularly unsavoury old man. Toby was rightly proud of said vegetable and the seed taking was expertly executed but he then just drilled a lot of holes in the thing to turn it into a giant lamp.
At no point was cooking or eating mentioned.
If I was that pumpkin (and many hundreds and thousands of others in this country) I would feel rightly pissed off. My destiny was not being fulfilled. I would , dash it, be forced to the barricades. When I arrived I would climb onto a suitable piece of raised ground , call the massed crowds to attention and orate, as follows.
“Brothers and Sisters” (is how I would begin my address as this seems to have worked quite well over the years. Or maybe I should start with the more unisex “Comrades” or “My Fellow Curcubits”)
“The time has come to stand up against this oppression. As free born pumpkins we are entitled to be eaten: whether roasted in fine olive oil, curried with organic chickpeas or turned into a creamy soup with croutons and perhaps a scattering of freshly torn flat leaved parsley. Our fathers and our fathers fathers did not endure the trials of transplantation from the wide fields of our native Indiana in order to be turned into annoyingly unscary lanterns for the entertainment of the spoilt offspring of bloated Liberals. We are vegetables not playthings.
Do they use Courgettes as Lego bricks? “No” (the multitude would shout)
Turnips as poseable characters from the Pixar Movie Toy Story? “Never” (would be the loud response)
Potatoes as art supplies for fat fingered toddlers?… “Well Yes, Brother, they do. Actually..” (responds one smart arse, who I suspect might be Red Dawn, but I have a suitable reply for every heckler…)
That does not surprise me” I will riposte ,” the potato has always been a class traitor ever since it sold out its simple boiled or chipped habits for the hoity toity Aristocratic world of the Croquette and the Dauphinoise”
“Are parsnips used as rattles? or leeks as accessories for Barbecue Party Barbie ? “No,No,No” (they yell insistently and with increasing menace)
“You are right, they are not Brothers and Sisters. They are not. It is only us, the Pumpkins of the world, who are so badly treated. We must strike a blow for Pumpkin liberation, we must say “NO” to the hand that picks us from the fields.
No lanternisation without a dignified and respectful recipe – preferably involving Nigella Lawson or, at the very least, Nigel Slater will be our slogan. Today, we march on London and we do not stop until the discarded leaves of our enemies float limply in the Thames. Are you with me…?
(Roars of “Maybe” “In a minute” “Perhaps”. etc etc etc.)
The point being that not nearly enough pumpkins are actually eaten and too many of them end up sagging sadly on doorsteps in the days after Halloween. They are rather delicious except, and here I risk upsetting a large part of the world, when sweetened and baked in a pumpkin pie.
This is a bad idea. Before the ire of many American home bakers descends upon my shoulders I wish to submit evidence of experience in mitigation. I was given a slice of pumpkin pie many years ago by a well meaning person while I was languishing briefly in a hospital in a town called Truckee in California (long story). It was so nasty that I had to secrete it in a handy cupboard until she had left. I was scarred for life and have yet to be brought round to pumpkin as a pudding.
That is probably enough inflammatory radicalism for one day.
In 2008 we listened together to the theme from Stingray. Rather more appropriately I am listening right now to Police On My Back by the Asian Dub Foundation.
The picture is of a handsome cabbage.