Sunday, September 17, 2006

Day of the Triffids

I've just read a lovely review in the London Review of Books of Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker and Apprentice to a Butcher in Tuscany, written by Bill Buford. The reviewer is Steven Shapin and he offers a great little history of our relationship with food as well as a critique of how we eat and cook now. I'm going to buy the book - I love the quotes from it, the interchanges between Buford and his pasta mistress best:

"...just when he thought he'd cracked the secret of working the dough with the matterello, she announced her disapproval with a blow on his shoulder: 'You look like an old woman... You will never learn if you roll it out like an old woman.' "

Buford, former fiction editor of the New Yorker, went to Tuscany to "learn meat".

" the time he returned to Manhattan, he was able to schlep a whole still-bleeding pig (only recently bereft of life) from the farmers' market back to his apartment, taking it up in the lift - together with an unamused Wall Street banker - and butchering it in the traditional Tuscan way: a tub of pork confit, chains of salsicce, a rosticiana, an arista (the aristocrat of roast, herbed rolled pork), vast quantities of ragu, brawn: 450 servings of food from one animal, skilfully dismembered."

This getting in touch with the sources of food is utterly admirable, but not for the faint-hearted, or those like me who don't eat pork for ethical reasons. The pig may have been lovingly carved up, but its life was still most likely absolutely misery, especially if it was female. I'll do my bit for the slow food movement by continuing to tend my vegie patch.

Remember when I put it in, not even two months ago? (see before shots)

We have lettuce galore - butter and frilly, which is more bitter. They're a great combination in a salad.

I never knew brussels sprouts grew like this, along the stem like parasites... I picked these and ate them on Sunday, lightly boiled then tossed in butter and a little white wine vinegar.

The broccoli head, still only about 4cm in diameter, is protected by this huge fan of bluish leaves. I wonder if the leaves are edible? It seems such a waste if they're not.

And... I looked for a pic of a triffid but only found out that John Wyndham's full name was John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris.

1 comment:

Mindy said...

Even if the broccoli leaves aren't edible I bet they make good compost. Lovely garden.