Thursday, June 28, 2007
It’s Rocket Science Jim …
… but not as we know it. Struggling against my upbringing, since the 1970’s I have had a keen interest in food. More so after I left home at the age of eighteen, when I found myself ill prepared. But that’s a long tale. Plus of course it does my mother a disservice. Its not that she was a bad cook. She wasn’t at all. But she was a girl brought up on a ration book with a firm belief that if a vegetable wasn’t boiled properly it might corrupt an innocent mind.
Where’s this off to? I was lucky. In 1974 I went on a school exchange for a month. The French family I stayed with opened my eyes to another world. Olive oil that had uses beyond the medicinal. Red meat that wasn’t overcooked, or even cooked at all. Salads that you could taste and no salad cream. An interesting proportion of the families food came from just outside the front door as well. Rabbits, chickens, fresh vegetables and herbs travelled from the end of the garden to the kitchen.
Oh it worked both ways. My exchange partner, still one of my closest friends over thirty years later, learned things to. He loved gravy, steak and kidney pie, apple crumble, trifle, bacon and eggs and the way that the British could sit down for a meal and get up from the table less than an hour later.
As years have passed I have enjoyed growing things outside my kitchen door as well. In particular herbs and salads.
A couple of years ago I got my hands on some delicious peppery rocket from a WI garden sale. The pungent green leaves dress up well on their own but are also delicious with soft red tomatoes and a bit of olive oil. The plant did really well and by cropping it regularly it stretched throughout the summer. Eventually I let it go and there were a few yellow flowers followed by seeds that I gathered and dried them out on top of my garden table. I was worried you see that a cold winter or some vigorous slugs and snails might see it off.
I needn’t have worried. I sowed two rows in the secret vegetable garden this spring and I think everyone of a thousand seeds did well. I can’t get rid of the stuff fast enough now.
A few seeds fell from the table when I was collecting as well. In the photo above you can see where they hit the floor. What with that and the stuff in the veg patch I could start a business.