Friday, July 30, 2010
Move along nothing to see here....
One of looniest things I do, according to my neighbours, (all in their seventies, all farmers, all stepping in the same footsteps as their parents and their grandparents and their great grandparents before them), is that I grow herbs. Not just parsley - which is completely acceptable as long as it is flat leaf, picked fresh and used instantly, and bulb garlic - which is also acceptable as long as you only grow the one bulb which will last for several months, and each clove has to be peeled to reveal a tiny garlic splinter before use.
I actually grow things they have only just recently seen on TV, and therefore these are things that don't actually exist in real life yet and are almost illicit in their exoticness.
You know the sort of exotic thing, like chives, sage and bay, oregano, coriander, lemongrass and thyme, peppermint, wild garlic, garlic chives and basil.
Our nearest neighbour is forever coming over and poking at things with his foot, demanding their names and culinary uses, which only serves to deepen the confusion, because our neighbour doesn't eat anything that may be considered in the slightest as exotic, like spaghetti bolognese, or pizza. He was overwhelmed when I tried to tempt him with a frittata the other day made with goose eggs and thyme - I thought he was going to summon the priest for an exorcism he looked so utterly horrified.
Today it just got worse, I don't think he got any work done in his own garden because he spent most of the morning wandering across to see what his loony neighbour was doing every 5 minutes.
Conversations went like this:
He: What are you doing?
I: I'm cutting oregano.
I: To dry it.
I: So I can use the dried leaves in winter.
I: Because we like the flavour they add to foods.
He: What sort of foods?
I: Italian dishes mainly, that have tomato as a sauce base.
He: Italian (French body shrug and untranslatable 'huh' noise) Why?
I: We like Italian dishes.
I: They have lovely rich flavours, are easy and cheap to make. Do you want to try a leaf of oregano?
I: To taste the flavour.
He: (taking the tiniest piece of leaf, dabs it on his tongue and spits it out) What's that? (points at sage)
.... (conversation as above repeats itself) ......
He: (having spat the sage leaf out too) I've seen that on TV (points at curly parsley)
I: It's just parsley but with a different leaf, do you want to try some?
He: ( backing away ) I'm going to tell my mother.
The front of the house is now bedecked with bunches of drying herbs, and both of my nearest neighbours have driven past at 0 miles an hour for a good stare and point.
What did they do for entertainment before we moved in........