Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Il faut cultiver nôtre jardin

Here in this little Greek island people have always given each other food, often already cooked. The local family that has adopted me often send a family member round with a plate or tupperware of whatever the family is having today, especially if it’s some traditional dish — a favourite is Yiouverlakia —that they know I like. It is likely, in the present circumstances, that people will do this more and more. Thank God I live in a small community; things will not get as bad as they are in the cities. No-one will be allowed to go hungry here.

Yesterday my friend Tasos presented me with an enormous marrow; I shall stuff it with a mincemeat sauce, bake it, and take it round to the bookshop, where we gather of an evening, to share. I am tempted, for all that most of the others know only a little English, to take round also a recording of the Marrow Song. (You know: ‘Oh, what a beauty, I’ve never seen one as big as that before…’ Greeks love a double entendre.)

I don’t know much about vegetable growing but I know what I like: as far as I’m concerned a marrow is just an overgrown courgette, and unless you do things with it it’s pretty bland and boring. The same does not go for tiny courgettes, though of course the English will find a way to make any food bland and boring; they will chop up courgettes and cook them to death. The thing to do however is to top and tail them, cutting off as little as possible, and then steam them whole until they just begin to soften. Serve whole, warm rather than hot, with olive oil, salt, and pepper, eat separately rather than with other more strongly flavoured foods. This way you will appreciate their fine, delicate flavour.

Yes, I know I don’t usually write about these sorts of things, but the way Greece is going we are all going to have to think more about the next meal.
 Yes, all right; we all know you've got a big one.
Now there's a couple of tasty little ones.

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