“Half memoir, half travel, A Yank Back to England...is an absolutely wonderful book, not only about going home again but also about love and family and tradition and the passage of the years.”
—Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic (Washington
To see the entire quote, click here.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A cauliflower grows in Dagenham, part 2

For some unknown reason, the cauliflowers attracted an inordinate amount of caterpillars. Every day these green and white creatures would promenade across the plants’ bulbous surface. When they first appeared, Lew was going to spray them with DDT but thought better of it. Using a stick he knocked the insects off and I had the fun job of smashing and mashing them to bits.
Eventually a caterpillar-free, fully grown cauliflower was delivered to Jessie. The large, heavy plant was divested of its outer greenery, then plunged whole into a pot of water in which it was boiled.
And boiled.
Eventually, the cauliflower was retrieved like a hot and soggy sponge, with all its flavor and nutrients drained away. The cauliflower was divided and served as a side dish. The remains of the florets had turned grainy and mealy, and overall the cauliflower tasted of hot water with fibrous bits.
To suggest to Jessie that a vegetable could be cooked less and retain a touch of crunch would have evoked derisive laughter and looks of incredulity mingled with pity. The idea that a cauliflower could be enrobed in a velvety cheese sauce would have caused my mum great consternation and might have had her doubting my masculinity. Mum would not brook such adulterations.


weenie_elise said...

mmmm, cauliflower cheese

The Prodigal Tourist said...

My thought exactly--recipe is coming...