Sunday, November 25, 2007

sprouts, divided, smile

In the farmers' market, they sell Brussels sprouts on the stalk. This is quite common now, and it is a good idea; it keeps them fresh and looks interesting. And it is better to let customers remove the sprouts from the stalks than pay workers to do the job.

Looking out from the window of Hall's bookshop, I see passers-by in Chapel Place, divided horizontally into three by bookshelves, with gaps between them, ranged against the window. I glimpse unattached legs, torsos and heads moving, it seems, independently of each other.

There is a very thin woman with a walking stick, who walks rapidly about the town. Her face is normally set in an expression of grim concentration. But today, as we pass her on the pavement - Heidi, (recovering from her hip operation), one hand on her own stick, her other hand on my arm - she smiles at us, a shy, confederate smile.

3 comments:

Lucy said...

Apparently the average English person hates brussels sprouts. Yet they are so very English, despite their name. The archetypal nasty greens, overcooked. I like them though.

Clare said...

I love brussels sprouts, too. They are just tiny cabbages. Cocktail cabbages!

I bought a stalk from the farmers' market, and a guest from London was very surprised at it: 'Good lord! I thought they... I don't know how I thought they grew.'

And I've seen that same lady -- I always wonder about her, and I'm glad you made her smile.

Plutarch said...

Sprouts can be particularly good served with chestnuts that have already been peeled and blanched. You can also mince them and add cream and butter (and nutmeg, if you like it) to make a puree. But you can do little to improve lightly boiled sprouts glazed with a little butter. My mother tried to endear sprouts to us children by calling them "fairy cabbages."