Friday, 14 November 2008

Friday vegetable update

Over here, some things in the supermarket are a little bit different than in Queensland. For one thing, you can buy alcohol here (because unlike in Queensland, the government has not been hamstrung by a super-powerful alcohol distribution monopoly). Also, there are massive aisles of pre-prepared "ready meals" for one which cover a whole range of cuisines but by and large manage to taste almost exactly the same as each other. "Woolies" here is not the dominant and most profitable supermarket in the country, but a minor purveyor of homewares and hi-fi equipment. And finally, things have completely different names: what I know as a snowpea is mangetout, those orange pumpkins are butternut squash, eggplants are aubergines, and zucchini is courgette. Plus, for somewhere with a decidly non-tropical climate, they all seem awfully keen on pomegranate. I don't think I'd ever seen a pomegranate before I arrived in England.

Today I had my first British experience of an entirely new vegetable (rather than something with a different name), the golden beetroot. In Australia, beetroot usually means violently magenta hued, very sweet slices extracted from a tin made by Golden Circle and served at barbecues. Possibly for serving with pineapple on a hamburger. Occasionally someone (like my mother) might bother to buy fresh ones and cook them (meaning they would have about 400% less sugar than the canned variety), but most Australians I know probably don't even realise this is possible. However, I had no idea it was possible to get beetroot in different colours. It was like the time I first encountered those purple potatoes.

The weirdest thing is, it tastes almost exactly the same as red beetroot, so while eating it I experienced a weird sort of sensory confusion. Apparently golden beetroot used to be very common in England before being supplanted (ha!) by the red variety. So there you go. Maybe I should start farming it in Australia and selling it with a mark-up on the red beetroot price. It's not really golden though... more of a dull, slightly translucent yellow.

Another thing I've learned about golden beetroot is that it seems to emit some sort of invisible forcefield that prevents the camera from being in focus when someone tries to take a photo of it. This the only possible explanation for the range of substandard photos Google Images brings up when you search "golden beetroot".


sas said...

One of my favourite 'vegetable genre' stories is from my third visit to Bris Vegas. Flying back from the UK, jetlagged and lost and emotionally drained I went for a 4.30am walk around Graceville where little brother lives.
At about 6am the fruit and vege stall opened and I stocked up. I ate a pottle of blueberries on the walk back to the house - they were absolutely DIVINE.

Bern said...

Your mother and the beetroots made me smile as I have a pot full of the purple suckers on the stove as I speak.

Not something I used to do until I discovered the flavour of yesterday's fresh, just-out-of-the-ground beetroots.

So good.

And that 'should of...." is the one that grates most with me.

Hey! I don't want you to come home. I will miss your blog too much.



Lauren in London said...

sas - can't imagine what Graceville must be like at 4.30am. Quiet?

Bern - I hope your beetroot was delicious.

I think people say "should of" more than they actually write it. When you see it, it looks so wrong - surely most people would pick it up eventually? I guess that would require them to proof-read...

All the storm photos of Brisbane in the news are making me feel homesick so I'm afraid I will have to disappoint you. :>)