Monday 31 May 2010

Vegetable babies

Nouvelle cuisine. Don't you just love it? Tiny decorative portions served on a 'bed' of something-or-other, garnished with a pretty little sprig or two and and sitting beside a miniature brightly-coloured lake (or 'jus' to those in the know).

But what really irritates me is the 'baby vegetables'. Since when have very small vegetables been babies? My dictionary definition of a baby is 'newborn or very young child or animal'. Not a vegetable. So what's this all about? Is it anthropomorphism gone mad? Is calling them babies supposed to make tiny little vegetables more attractive? Our local supermarket sells 'babyleaf salad.' No. It's not baby leaf. It's just immature, small or whatever. A lettuce is NOT A BABY!

I had 'baby vegetables' at a posh lunch last week; carrots thinner than matchsticks, tiny little leeks like blades of grass, and a minute green thing which looked like a weed that used to grow on our lawn. It tasted nice, but what a lot of work. What a lot of FUSS.

Give me grown-up vegetables any time.


  1. I find myself similarly irked by dishes described as "pan-fried". Yes, other utensils are possible, but I think the pan is rather implied by "fried".

    It's invariably the kind of poncy dishes that would be accompanied by baby vegetables which are pan-fried. Few of us would sit down to a breakfast of pan-fried eggs...

  2. I agree, Tim. 'Pan-fried' is ridiculous. And so is 'oven-baked' (except, I suppose, when applied to chips).

  3. What's next? Chef-cooked? Earth-grown? (except, of course that that is a genuine descriptor in these days of hydroponics). Just as there's a plain English award for official documents, perhaps we should start one for restaurant menus. Plain English for our food, please! (And no juveniles of any kind...)

  4. Actually, Alis, menus in English would be a start. It's ridiculous having to ask for a translation in an English restaurant because the dishes are all in a foreign lauguage. (Sounds as though I eat out a lot, but I don't. That's probably the problem...)

    Verification word: jutlingu. Can't you just see that, freshly-caught and pan-fried (naturally), served up on a bed of baby-leafed something-or-other?

  5. "Line-caught" is another that irks me. There's a holier-than-thou "I didn't use an industrial trawler net" implied.

    If I'm prepared for a fish to die to provide my supper, I'm not going to compound it with the hypocrisy of demanding fishing nets aren't used to get it on my plate.

  6. Tim - I've alwsy wondered about that. Do they have rows and rows of fishermen with their little rods perched on jetties or sitting in boats, and if so, why isn't the fish terribly expensive? (Actually, if I were a fish, I'd prefer a net and suffocation to a hook and then suffocation, which seems to me like adding insult to injury.)