Broccoli - A Cuckoo in the Nest?

CauliflowerIt appears that a promotion by the UK cauliflower growers, to try and regain the third of their market that has been lost in the last decade, has ruffled the feathers of Italian 'broccoli' growers.

Now let's get something straight here - the bright green stuff from Italy, sold at a ridiculously high price for a few ounces, isn't broccoli. It's calabrese. When and where someone decided to change its name, who knows? My (conspiracy) theory is that is was to try and confuse people into believing that this boring non-entity of a vegetable is akin to its aristocratic relative, British grown sprouting broccoli, and by doing so, gain some form of kudos.

I hate to say it, but they seem to have succeeded. But why? Is it that the impostor doesn't come with the baggage of being part of that soggy mass of veg served by our grandparents, or because it needs hardly any preparation? Maybe it's because some pseudo scientific 'expert' decided that it's a super-food? Who knows? It makes you wonder whether if cauliflower was sold as a few pieces at a time, wrapped in cling film, and at double the price, its sales would be higher. Heaven forbid that the modern housewife has to cut the thing up!

Let's cast of the image that cauliflower can only be served plain or in a cheese sauce. Don't over-cook it, leave it al dente, and it's superb. Follow the Indian lead; they use it in a variety of dishes including pakoras, aloo gobi, or the indo-chinese gobi manchurian. You could of course follow the advice of Harry Phibbs in The Guardian instead:

Another awfully modern thing to do is not to cook the cauliflower at all but break it up into little flowers and offer them to your guests alongside dips.

I love the fact that this is 'awfully modern'. I ate this at the Tewkesbury Hotel and Country Club in the late '70s, and have served it regularly ever since! I'll have to stop now; I wouldn't want anyone to think me 'awfully modern'!

It's British grown and available all year; let's restore the cauliflower to its rightful position, it deserves it.


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