vendredi 28 janvier 2011

Panais from heaven.................

I went to the local supermarche today in Ste Mere Eglise with a shopping list, determined to stick to it and not be tempted by 'goodies' in the patisserie section and on the huge 'chocolaterie' display. But little did I know what temptation was to come!!
As I wandered into the "legumes" vegetable section I stopped in my tracks. My eyes widened; for there he was - sitting in the exotic section.  A parsnip....a lone parsnip!

Now, English readers and probably readers from the rest of the world will not understand why I found this exciting. But the French do not do parsnips at all;  except, I think, being used to feed cattle in the winter.

I immediately looked left and right to see if any other English shoppers were close by and strained my ears for an English voice just in case I was going to have to dash and grab him with a rugby tackle. And believe me.....I would have done it too!

When I realised I was safe I looked again and he simply stared back at me. Oh yes, he knew he was something special; and he knew exactly what he meant to me. He knew I wanted him and knew I would do anything to make him mine . He knew he was special and stared me right back in the eye - a Mr D'Arcy stare, if you will -  full of arrogance and in his prime.

But no, I wouldn`t pander to him. I approached the exotic section and averted my gaze from his piercing eyes.I checked out all the produce around him, taking my time and not even paying him any attention. But I heard an English voice approaching so had to act. I lunged out and grasped him and quickly placed him in a bag and sealed the top with a strong knot. Mission accomplished!

With him safely in my trolley I looked above for the code for the 'weigh and price yourself' section but there was no picture of him, nor was there any indication of a number or name. As I searched for a means to identify it a tiny old French lady approached;  so tiny that the shopping trolley was almost bigger than her. I asked her for the name of the parsnip in French but she had no idea, though helpfully said it may be a white carrot! She called another passing shopper who also didn`t know the name - and she in turn called yet another lady for inspiration.  Again no joy - and then they decided to summon a shop assistant! By this time I was wishing I hadn`t asked at all as they huddled together in a noisy gang discussing the "exotic" item. I was a little nervous as he had left my grasp and was being bandied around between them willy-nilly.

Eventually the assistant called for the manager - and he proclaimed him to be a "panais" - so he duly  priced him and returned him to me.

So , now I am home and I realise what a huge responsibility he is. I know that he has to be eaten immediately otherwise I know that all my English friends who live locally and who read my blog will be over to steal him. It may even bring on a visit from the Parsnip police!

I toyed with the idea of locking him in the safe or just placing him on the chopping block so I could look at him longer. But I knew that I would do nothing but worry if I had to turn my back on him and would look pretty stupid taking him everywhere with me all day.

So, as we speak, he is newly chopped and hiding amongst the other vegetables in a huge pot of beef stew cooking on the aga.

The  possession of a parsnip is a huge responsibilty, you know!

5 commentaires:

  1. how unfortunate for you that you can't usually get your hands on parsnips, how do you manage not having roast ones? I must say I don't think that you have done much to quash the rumours about English Eccentrics this morning.
    You did make me laugh though!
    T X

  2. Tracey.....Could you be my parsnip supplier? If you came over once a week on the ferry you could do quite a good trade on the corner in Ste Mere Eglise with them hidden in your overcoat!!

  3. Dear Shirley,
    You have accomplished the seemingly impossible and now have me craving parsnips!!!!
    Peace & Plenty of Parsnips,

  4. Shirley, have you tried growing them from seed, they are very easy, you could even try in a few pots on your fancy patio?
    T X

  5. Ten years ago I experienced this excitement, but they're readily available in most larger supermarkets over here nowadays...