Thursday 25 April 2013

V is for Vegetables ...

In the 2nd half of the 18th century Rev. Gilbert White in “The Natural History of Selborne” made note of the increased consumption of vegetables by ordinary country people in the south of England.
Cauliflower, tomato, turnips, beans et al

To which he recorded ‘that potatoes had only been added during the reign of George III (1738 – 1820).

Green-stalls in cities now support multitudes in comfortable state, while gardeners get fortunes!!’

In Elizabeth I’s reign 1588 was the year that the first recorded Brussels sprout was used as a trimming ...  (I love me my sprouts!)

New potatoes
Yet vegetables, known as “worts”, were recorded in the 12th century ... a meat roll:  “Boyl a Flank with worts” ... a deboned mutton flank, flavoured with salt and pepper, and powdered spice – lightly roll and leave to ‘marinade’.

Next day take young turnips, parsnips and young onions as needed... cut them small, pressing over the meat, sprinkle with thyme, parsley, and a suspicion of rosemary or mint.   Tie rolled flank, place in a cloth and simmer gently in the bone broth.

Green Space Landscape - vegetable plot

To serve unroll, spread with vegetables, and extra cabbage lightly stewed in butter and milk ... pour over some of the juices, then serve with thick breads and the remainder  ‘gravy’.

Leafy greens and vegetables
Hedgeroll is another early version of serving vegetables ... young vegetables rolled into a thin pastry crust ...

The word had been around for a long time in the sense of 'animal, vegetable and mineral', but not until the mid 1700s did it come to be used in this new specific way, to describe ‘herbs and roots grown for food’.

Green herbs, for the service of man ... the simplers had experimented with tasting, the gardeners started to grow them, and poor man needed to eat – greens became acceptable on the meal table.

A selection of colourful vegetables

None more so now in the 21st century ... as we realise the importance of fresh vegetables – both raw and cooked as delicious dishes in their own right ...

That is V for Vegetables from Aspects of British Cookery

Green Space Landscape – vegetable plot ... grow your own

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Nas said...

Oh, veggies are very important all right. Where would we be without them?

jabblog said...

The importance and benefits of travel are never more clearly realised than in the import of new foods.

Michelle Wallace said...

Hi Hilary.
I love my veggies. Even the ones that people don't seem to like much, like asparagus and broccoli.
I once had a delicious asparagus recipe that would convert any person who is anti-asparagus.... now if I could just find it...

Writer In Transit

Diane said...

What would we do with out vegetables? Apart from eating them my garden would be very boring! Have a great day Diane

Lynn said...

Vegetables are my favorite really. And I love brussel sprouts, too. :)

J.L. Murphey said...

I love me some sprouts also. I knew I liked you for some reason. LOL Give me the veges first and I'm a happy camper...meat, eh, whatever. As an avid organic gardener, could I think any other way?

Elise Fallson said...

I love fresh vegetables, and wish I had more time to grow a vegetable garden like the one you've pictured in your post. One of the things I wish people would do is grow more heirloom vegetables.

Amanda Trought said...

Hilary I once tried to grow sweet potato, beetroot, and herbs, which did alright, trying to get Sekani eating more fresh vegetables so Hedgeroll seems like an interesting recipe to try. Blessings, Amanda

JoJo said...

YUM! Veggies are awesome!

Unknown said...

Veggie are very important, but the ones I need the most, greens, are the ones I find the least tasteless.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I read somewhere that our plates should be filled half with green veggies. Need to do that more.

Tracy Moore said...

Interesting post about yummy veggies, Hilary! I love vegetables of all sort with only a few exceptions. Have to say that I'm really glad that they are no longer called worts! It just doesn't sound real appetizing. :)

Vallypee said...

I often think we don't do enough with vegetables these days. The Turks do wonderful veggie dishes and you've mentioned some great ones here, Hilary. I also love sprouts…especially covered in grated cheese and pepper! That's a meal in itself :-)

Nick Wilford said...

It's all about the presentation as many kids think veg is boring. Rolled in pastry sounds pretty yummy!

cleemckenzie said...

I'm a very spoiled vegetable eater. We eat from the garden starting in March with lettuce. I practically pace until July when I start harvesting tomatoes. A lot never reach the kitchen because I do a lot of grazing while I'm working the dirt!

I never knew veggies were called worts. I think that may have set their popularity back a bit, don't you? Terrible sounding word, wort.:-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nas - we wouldn't be anywhere without our veggies - well I certainly wouldn't be ..

@ Janice - I agree with the ancient vegs .. I worry now with the mucking around of our plant genetics I have to say ... we need all the varieties we can get -

@ Michelle - I love asparagus and our asparagus has just started - I need to get out to the farm shop to get some ... I'd rather have cauliflower, or sprouting purple brocoli - that my mother used to grow. I think asparagus is one of those love it or hate it veg - not a changeable version ... but who knows!

@ Diane - I envy you your garden that is just springing forth - something I aspire to at some stage!

@ Lynn - I agree veggies are so delicious and so glad you enjoy a good old plate of brussels.

@ JL - and you with your sprouts - yup I'm an old fashioned home grown variety of girl .. and I'd love to have an organic garden .. it's wonderful that you have a passion to continue on with ..

@ Elise - yes .. there's a few gardeners amongst us (not me, either) which I'm seeing from the comments ... it would be so lovely just to have a veggie garden ... there's a few seed companies now growing the heirloom veggies ...

@ Amanda - your son will enjoy his veggies I'm sure .. mashing them up and rolling adds another dimension doesn't it - it's getting him to try them by 'hiding them' seems an opportunity not to be missed.

@ JoJo .. aren't they just awesome plants ..

@ Gwen - give your taste buds a chance by trying the green veggies on their own, and/or perhaps going to a farm stall and getting fresh from the fields ..

@ Teresa - I think you'd have read the idea correctly .. we need to eat mostly green, preferably raw ... and we'll all live to ripe old ages?!

@ Tracy - there probably is a vegetable I'm not fond of, but essentially I'll eat anything - so I'm with you there.

The wort story is interesting .. it's derivation is where wurzel came from ... and means plant in old English/German ... meaning root.

Whereas in beer or whisky production wort is liquid extracted - and contains the sugars that will be fermented by the yeast to produce alcohol.

So the humble wort is rather valuable ... may sound not so 'nice' but actually gives us much.

@ Val - I didn't venture into the recipe line .. but they're holding their own here - except the weather has been so atrocious .. we're going to be short of home grown ones. Recipes as per Elizabeth David, or the other mediterranean cooks are I agree scrumptious and I love them.

I eat sprouts that way - a meal in itself .. wonderful!

@ Nick - I agree there, and giving them foods perhaps they can dip into with fresh veggie.

I'm delighted the rolled in pastry "Hedgeroll" has found favour with you too ..

@ Lee - I commented a bit about the old 'wort' being such a valuable word ... it's been around centuries, so it's survived the test of time!!

You are so lucky to have such an amazing sounding veg patch .. my mother had amazing vegetable gardens - she was so good at creating them ... I've never really been in a position to have one. Perhaps soon ...

But I remember those days of being in the garden with my Mama and grazing too!

Cheers to you all - here's to all worts!! Hilary

Suzanne Furness said...

Love my veggies!

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,

Please forgive me. I'm barely keeping up commenting on so many doing the alternative blogging challenge to mine! :)

What I've noticed since moving to England is that there seems to be plenty more fresh vegetables on offer in the grocery stores than there used to be.

Although, I did get rather confused when I found out potatoes wore "jackets" in Britain. Then I found out it was a baked potato.

Soon be at the letter "A". Sorry, wrong challenge.



Anonymous said...

I actually love vegetables (except for brussel sprouts). I actually get irritable when I go too long without eating any.

Mark Means said...

I love almost all vegetable..except for lima beans...yuck!

Nothing better than fresh brussel sprouts, those!

Inger said...

Lots of veggies on the blogs today. Thanks for the additional and interesting historical information.

TALON said...

lol - so even way back when they were trying to disguise vegetables! :)

Julie Flanders said...

I actually hate vegetables and have to force myself to eat them, but your pictures are so colorful they almost make me want to eat some. I honestly always wish I liked veggies!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Strange they didn't become a staple in England until then.

Jo said...

Didn't know the dates, but knew green veggies didn't come into use in England for many a year. When I was younger, after WWII, of course, there weren't too many varieties around anyway. Cabbage and carrots was about it for a while.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Suzanne - me too .. so good for you.

@ Gary - well like many of us ... but we get there - forwards or backwards!

Yes - during the war years we had all the basics .. many more than we think - cauliflowers, leeks, Brussels, cabbages, purple sprouting .. now we definitely have the standards and many others.

The jacket element of potatoes is a little 'strange' isn't it - I love jackets out of the Aga!

@ Alexandra - sorry about the Brussels ... yes that sentiment of being without veggies is one I feel.

@ Mark - no lima beans .. I like those too! But so pleased you enjoy Brussels - they are delicious ...

@ Inger - are veggies around everywhere .. I've seen them once so far - and that was Italy - suited me! The history of food is always fascinating .. so glad you enjoyed it too ..

@ Talon - I think probably then they were trying to ring the changes .. as any edible food was quite hard to find.

@ Julie - oh Julie .. oh no - you don't like veggies .. they are so delicious - it's not often people actually don't like them!

@ Alex - they'd have eaten an awful lot of meat ... then slowly vegetables came in .. and today we realise their importance for our health ..

@ Jo - we grew lots of veggies at home ... those I mentioned above to Gary .. but I forgot peas and beans - we had those too - as well as spinach ... the War certainly curtailed foods for a while ..

Cheers and thanks for your comments ... Hilary

Rosalind Adam said...

I do like the sound of that Hedgeroll. I find plain cabbage etc to be a very boring way of getting our veg. I sometimes stir fry all the veg with rice and a splash of gravy plus lots of seasoning. Goes down a treat.

Unknown said...

Wow, I can't imagine life without vegetables. How did they get their nutrients? Or did they? Perhaps that's why life expectancy was so short.

Unknown said...

We grow many veggies on our land during the summer months. We do a moderate amount of canning as well so that we can enjoy them thru the winter months. I especially love the addition of herbs to my garden, makes the veggies even better!

Golden Eagle said...

Mmm, vegetables. :)

Sara said...

I do love how you combine the history with the foods. I laughed at this line, “Boyl a Flank with worts”

Worts is such an odd word for vegetables, but a fun word to say.

I think I would like the Hedgeroll. It sounds delicious to me. Then again, I love anything with pastry.

Well done, Hilary. I really believe this A-Z should become an e-book when you get your breath back:~)

Unknown said...

I learned something new today. Thanks. And I love veggies. I should really be a lot thinner than I am. LOL.


A Lady's Life said...

I went out to buy potatoes today and came back without them lol

Jannie Funster said...

I hear if you don't eat your worts you end up getting warts. Did you hear?

I loves me my brussels sprouts too!


Unknown said...

How fascinating, really enjoyed the history, thanks.
maggie at expat brazil

Patricia Stoltey said...

I love vegetables. I tried planting my first garden box early this year, and it has been snowbound three different times since. Even so, the lettuce and spinach are looking very nice, and the peas have peeked out to see if it's safe to keep on growing now.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Ros .. it's interesting how the thousand year old Hedgeroll seems to be attracting everyone's thoughts! I'm actually making a concerted effort to eat veg as they're intended .. ie fresh, simply and with a little butter?!

@ Clarissa - I totally agree, I have to have my vegetables. Certainly there were deficiencies .. and some crops would have been staples .. but I'm afraid I am not a historian or have any knowledge in that area.

Despite that when they do bone and teeth analysis they find those early peoples had quite a wide diet ... and there were hedgerow, field and woodland plants that were eaten - but it would have been mostly meat, fish and breads ...

The Romans would have influenced the British diet too - they had a great variety of foods .. many more than we think ...

Yet not everyone could afford or find a variety of food, and sometimes needs must - so they ate, rather than worried about what they were eating.

@ Jen - I think many more of us are turning to growing our own, I know I would if I was in a position to do so. Herbs make so much difference to the flavours of food and veg .. while bottling is very prudent ..

@ Golden Eagle - thanks ..

@ Sara - I'd hoped the quote would amuse ... and Wort (as I found out) is such an appropriate word .. as our 'plant' derives from the Germanic old word Wort.

It'd be quite fun to try a Hedgeroll wouldn't it .. a little like a Savoury Roulade/Swiss Roll with veg ...

Thanks re the thought and an ebook - the mind is turning!

@ Karen - veggies are delicious aren't they .. and glad you love them .. the weight is just a nuisance!

@ A Lady's Life - that's the way to shop! Forget what you went for .. oh dear ...

@ Jannie - lovely to see you .. I eat my worts, so no warts! I heard loud and clear Ms Funster! xoxoxox

Well that's great we can share a plate of Brussel sprouts one day!

@ Maggie - good to see you .. and glad you enjoyed the post ..

@ Patricia - your weather has been so strange .. and here we're about to have a weekend of bitter weather again .. I don't expect snow, but just frosts and biting wind.

Lucky you - enjoy that lettuce, spinach and the peas ...

Cheers to you all - thanks so much for coming by .. Hilary

Julia Hones said...

I LOVE vegetables and I enjoy growing them. Lovely choice of pictures, Hilary.

Tina said...

Love my veggies. Fascinated by this history! Another great post, Hil.

Tina @ Life is Good
Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
@TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

Bish Denham said...

We can always use more vegetables!

MunirGhiasuddin said...

I love this post. It is full of color and freshness. Makes my mouth water already.

Lisa said...

Sorry to be so late catching up. Had a busy weekend. I LOVE Brussels sprouts. They are what I craved during my first pregnancy. I had no idea the word vegetable wasn't used before the 1700s. Love this post and it's almost lunch time!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Julia .. fresh vegetables are so delicious aren't they .. straight from the garden - my mother was a great gardener ..

@ Tina - they are so good for us .. and their spread and change always amazes me ..

@ Bish - we sure need to eat our veggies ..

@ Munir - many thanks .. glad I entice you in - and I know you appreciate all vegetables ..

@ Lisa - no worries - family life is ultra busy. Wonderful you love Brussels - I found some the other day .. what a great craving to have ... much better than so many pregnant women's tastes!!

I too hadn't realised that vegetable wasn't used as a word til about 300 years ago ... it's so common now - it seems strange.

Cheers to you all .. our veggies might be growing fast and furiously now - as the sun has really come out in the south of England .. lovely weekend ahead .. happy times Hilary