This is a real example of the difference between English and French ways of eating. In past posts, I have spoken about the simplicity of French meals and this takes it to the limit.
Radishes will always be integral to my childhood. My Uncle Jack owned an ‘allotment’ in Liverpool, where he grew them in abundance alongside lettuce and sweet peas, and I am sure, numerous other delicious vegetables which at the time I refused to eat!
Uncle Jack’s radishes were small and round and crimson, and burnt your tongue, and my cousin Margaret and I would eat them like sweets. The ones that managed to make it to the table were sliced and served in a mixed salad with cold meats.
When I first came to France my partner and I stayed with a friend of his. At dinner she placed a bowl of radishes in the centre of the table along with a little dish of salt, a baguette and some butter and told us to begin eating. Begin eating what? I asked myself, all I could see was radishes – not salad, not cooked meats, nothing!
Unsure what to do next I waited and watched my partner, take a piece of baguette, butter it, then take a radish, dip it into the salt and begin to eat. This was the oddest thing imaginable to me at that time; but now this is a regular lunchtime starter ‘chez nous’ and a mainstay of every summer picnic.
Imagine my excitement when I saw these beauties at the local market – a far cry from Uncles Jack’s small red ‘aniseed balls’, each one with a unique taste, from spicy white to sweet purple. Delicious and SO simple – why make life complicated………
Please note that the stalks are left on. The first time that I served them, I almost caused a riot as I had trimmed them all off and the poor French had nothing to hold on to………