Tuesday, January 09, 2007

tastebud burst

This is the first fruits from our garden - one big, fat zucchini.

How good does that look?! OK, so I hid all the bird pecks away from the camera's prying eye, but still...

More importantly, how good did it taste? Delicious. Our very own organic, spray free produce.

I have a sneaking suspicion we have planted five too many zucchini plants! The six of them are growing bigger and bigger and bigger, overrunning the whole patch, and producing fruit galore. I've heard you can also eat the flowers, so I'm going to experiment with a sweet potato stuffed version that I found here. Should be interesting.

Another vegetable attempting to take over our garden by storm is a gianormous rhubarb plant. I swear this thing is over one metre across! Every time I hack a few stalks off, they replace themselves in a trice and the plant is bigger than ever.

We love rhubarb and so do the earwigs - there are dozens of them hiding in the damp environs of curled up leaves. I'm pleased to report, after a rather hurried internet search, that earwigs are entirely harmless and only turn their pincers on ants who attack them from behind. What a relief that is - though I still prefer Frank to dispose of our unwanted leaves, just in case those pincers turn on me!

Rhubarb triggers off a wealth of wonderful memories in my mind. Four years ago I travelled to Tajikistan. I stayed with a wonderful Tajik family who opened their home and their hearts to me.

They also introduced me to the wonders of Tajik cuisine. Including rhubarb.

Tajiks don't eat rhubarb like we do. I cook it up into Rhubarb and Coconut cakes, or stew it with sugar by the cup full. Frank then eats it on his cereal, or with yoghurt or icecream. That wonderful blend of ascerbic and sweet flavours is a delight to the taste buds.

But the Tajiks don't eat it like that - oh no they don't!

Every spring the rhubarb bursts into life. The locals harvest it and cart it along the streets on small trolleys. Anything edible has the potential to create income in a country where income is hard to come by. I have vivid recollections of rhubarb trolleys rumbling past me on sun dappled footpaths, the purveyors doing their best to bring in a dollar - or a Somoni in this case.

Rhubarb is something of a delicacy in Tajikistan, and once purchased it is quickly consumed. The stalks are cut up into small pieces, dipped in salt and eaten raw. It sounds perfectly awful, but it really doesn't taste so bad! Tart, but refreshing and invigorating as well.

I can't chop rhubarb now without popping some of it into my mouth, raw. As the flavour bursts onto my tongue, my mind explodes with a myriad of memories. Memories of beautiful people with sunny smiles; of women and old men cutting grass in curbside flower beds; of old women selling pumpkin seeds by the roadside; of children playing in the streets; of flowing dresses and head scarves; of bed bugs; of feeling like a queen as they treated me like royalty.

Tajikistan openned its heart to me, and I will never forget it. Long may the rhubarb in our backyard flourish and soon may Tajikistan prosper in the same way.


At 6:28 am, January 11, 2007, Blogger Robyn said...

Is it really that long ago that you were in Tajikistan? Bed bugs are my enduring memory of your experience there, lol!!
That is a good looking zucchini :)

At 1:08 pm, January 11, 2007, Anonymous Nato said...

there must be a conspiracy - does Robyn always post first? She's certainly carrying something into posterity there. Oops sorry, I just realised that I don't really talk about your posts, which means that maybe I should try blogging. But that would mean an inordinate amount of work which may well be judged as nothing more than 'unintelligable prose'. So instead let me piggy back off your devotion Cec.

Still the idea of growing your own vegies is a good one - if someone else would be the gardener. Maybe my life is just too busy? I thought Rhubarb was poisonous when raw? Must be an urban myth.

Q: Who is Sandy? Should I know them (not so subtle nuetrality on gender, not wishing to cause offence by trying to remember previous references.)

of course flattery is always welcome - though a rare occurence in the Arms circle (not so subtle lack of neutrality regarding Luke's post)

seriously though it is strange this whole web community thing - here I am having a degree of dialogue with a person who is nothing more than a blog post to me. as you can see by my need for a disclosure of person, I struggle with the incongruousness of cyber chat.

At 1:56 pm, January 11, 2007, Anonymous luke said...

Oh dear. My brother has choked on his dictionary.

Incidentally, I love rhubarb.

And is that one of your photos Cec? (The second one I mean.)

At 5:58 pm, January 11, 2007, Blogger Cecily said...

oh my, I feel somewhat bombarded and harrassed by all these comments, and in my own space no less. Please, no verbal diarrhoea. If you have such a great need to write comments, once again I suggest commencing your own blog. You will find it therapeutic.

Luke, that is one of my own photos. I'm thinking about taking it off because I think I might have told the women I wouldn't sell the picture to a magazine, and a blog is not much different really. I can't remember - some women liked having their photo taken, but most were shy.

I'm wondering if I should even bother explaining who Sandy is - I think both she and I are entitled to read and comment on blogs as we see fit. Sandy has been visiting for a while, and I visit her blog. That is the fun of blogging - 'meeting' new people.

OK, enough justifying myself. Please behave when you visit my blog or I will have to start deleting the comments. I can't cope.

At 12:53 am, January 12, 2007, Anonymous Sandy said...

I'm finding out a lot from the brothers. Sounds more like my family as I read on, only they don't blog or even do the computer, I don't think, so I'm fairly safe from invasion of cyber space. It's nice to meet you.

I came across Cecily's blog purely by accident (I think) and find visiting very worth while. It's very strange meeting someone like this but it would not happen if it weren't so. So I drop by to see what's going on in her life and how she's doing.

At 12:10 am, January 13, 2007, Anonymous luke said...

Hi sandy!

Excuse my brother. He's new to the blogging phenomenon.

And sadly verbaldiarrhoea.blogspot.com is already taken so we couldn't even register it on his behalf. Bother!

But nice to meet you too :-)

At 11:53 am, January 15, 2007, Anonymous Sandy said...



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