Monday, August 24, 2009
Cucumbers - one vegetable's journey
You already know everything there is to know about cod, oysters, coffee, sugar and nutmeg, and more, so it seems to me that the world is ready for vegetables to get their share of the glory and their inches of print.
(And yes, I know that technically cucumbers are fruits - as are tomatoes - but we all think of them as cucumbers and that is what counts.)
Either because of the rain or the honeybees, probably both, we have had a bumper crop of cucumbers this year. Every day we harvest about a dozen, and that is more than any healthy person can or should eat in a day. So I made pickles. I don't even eat pickles, so I won't be the one to tell you whether they are any good or not.
We used to give lots away, but no one answers the doorbell anymore.
That is why I am considering a starring role for cucumbers in my next book, to be called something like:
Cucumbers- One Vegetable's Incredible Journey from the Vines of India to Sex Ed Classrooms across America
Cucumbers originated in in India about 4000 years ago and that is why they are called cucumbers, from the Hindi word "kachumbar", rather than something else. The Spaniards brought them to Haiti in 1496 and since then they have become emblematic of afternoon teas frequented by ladies in white gloves.
Which just goes to show how appearances can fool you. Of my vast acquaintance, which includes many women with and without gloves, the most devoted consumer of cucumber sandwiches is CSB. He likes then on very thin bread, with the crusts removed.
Less well documented is how cucumbers have proven their usefulness in Sex Ed classrooms, when it becomes necessary to demonstrate how to put on a condom.The cucumbers shape is appropriate, and they conveniently come in many sizes. The fact that they are green doesn't matter, nor should it.
If this doesn't seem like enough upon which to base an entire book, don't worry. I have plenty pf recipes and folksy cucumber tales, as well as tangential tales about their family members ( zucchini, kumquats, muskmelons, trolls).