Sunday, 3 May 2009

Respounchous


Do you remember Noah and how much it rained?

It's been like that round here recently; reducing the fields to swamps where passing geese might alight and wade, rivers into torrents, roads into rivers, cars into boats etc, etc.

Which means, now that the sun has decided to intervene, that the hedges are alive with the spurt of Respounchous and the ditches and roadside banks awash with hunters and gatherers.

Respounchous may or may not be Wild Asparagus - a search on Google Images neither confirms it nor debunks it, Wikipedia English has nothing to say, Wikipedia French (or wi-ki-ped-i-a) -says it is. But does it matter?

Not to people round here, who scrabble and scrape and return home at the end of the day with a grubby fistfull.

"Très bonne pour la santé" they will tell you.

Yeah? Well judging by the state of the guy selling it down the market this morning that too is highly debatable.

Jhean, who as well as plumber, is source of all wisdom on "things to eat that grew in the mud in France", as far as i am concerned and has been encounterd in these pages before on the toxic subject of mushrooms.

The first time he arrived at the end of the track that leads to our house he lept straight from his car into the brambles and emerged with a straggley green piece of vegetation, a huge, lop sided grin (he suffered once from Lymes Disease) and a huge cry of "Regarde ce que pousse chez vous!" that made me think he had discovered gold.

When i expressed my total ambivelence he proceeded to explain that they were delicious when blanched and then fried in butter with garlic and herbs - and of course "Très bonne pour la santé".

Ressisting a comment that it hadn't done much for his facial expressions i suggested that the same was probably true of grass but i didn't think it worth the need to experiment.

Of course, after he left, curiosity got the better of me and i went gathering, chopped garlic and even used fresh herbs.

Sorry, not impressed.

There are many "signs of spring" but nothing confirms its occupancy more in this neck of the woods than the sight of expensive city cars parked at jaunty angles in the ditches of the Tarn and the sight of their unhealthy drivers clasping bunches of weeds to their chests.

I won't join them but, supersticious as i am, i always eat it raw when i see it growing along the track.

You have to do everything you can for your Santé.

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