The Coronavirus Diaries, 4th August 2020

I’ve never used marrow, vegetable marrow that is (obviously given my tastes bone marrow would never be on the menu chez IsobelandCat, though I remember my black Labrador Tessa used to have tins of a product called Pal which claimed it was enriched with marrowbone jelly) in curry before tonight. It was good, very good. Marrow is a bland vegetable which soaked up the curry flavours like a sponge and shared them nicely with its fellow vegetables. I had seconds, but then exerted my self-control and the rest is in a plastic container which will go into the freezer once it’s cooled down enough. The rest of the marrow will come with me to das Boot tomorrow and probably form part of another curry, maybe a green one this time. It’s a smallish chunk. I gave half the marrow to B&J and used half the remainder tonight. The mathematicians among you will have worked out that leaves a quarter.

I love curry. Like soup it’s a great chance to use up vegetables that are kicking around the fridge – squishy tomatoes, mushrooms that have passed their best, those last bits of cauliflower, the forgotten potato, the last of the carrots, a stick of celery that would otherwise go into the compost. Fresh ginger, a mix of spices, lentils, chilli flakes and hey presto you have a wonderful and fragrantly delicious meal. I added a large handful of fresh spinach tonight when it was nearly done. Yum and cheap as chips.

Someone, I wish I could remember who it was, told me he knew of a family who had given up their vegan diet because it was too expensive. I gaped at him in disbelief. What were they eating? Aanalogue meats and processed stuff at every mea? Veganism is incredibly economical, which given my current lack of income is extremely fortunate. I eat fairly cheaply and I eat well. Pound for pound, I am pretty sure MasterB’s food is more costly than mine.

Running a car is not economical. I filled up the petrol tank of mine today- £35. Basically that’s more or less what it costs me in petrol each time I go to the boat. I could stay at home, but the forecast is fine, summer will not last forever, and the countryside calls. I’m racking up more expenses by arranging to get the hall of my flat painted. Whether I put my home on the market or not, it needs doing. I need to learn not to bash the skirting boards with the vacuum cleaner. They are not a pretty sight. I am not good at painting, I’m particularly not good at painting with gloss or eggshell. There are five doors in my hallway. Five doors with wood surrounds. For ages I have wanted the doors painted too. Now it’s going to happen. I may have to stay.

I may have to stay anyway. My neighbour Carol is selling her house and called me today to announce that the housing market is going to crash in October as the full effects of the pandemic are felt across the country’s economy and we head into recession. Actually she called me four times today, but the third time I was driving. I think this house selling business is getting to her. It’s getting to me, and I’m not selling her house.

Stay safe. Keep well. Be kind.


8 thoughts on “The Coronavirus Diaries, 4th August 2020

  1. I tend to think a marrow is a courgette gone rogue. Is it actually a separate veg? So sorry to hear of the falling real estate values. Over here we are hoping for a collapse as our only chance to buy a property. Very sad that those of us who aren’t filthy rich will be fighting over scraps of property just to be stable and safe in our later years.

    • I’d have to check the relationship between courgettes and marrows to be able to say with 100% confidence that they are different species, but I believe so. When I was a small child I don’t recall courgettes at alL. You might think that unsurprising, but I have always loved my veg and had they been generally available I am pretty sure I would have been aware of them. Marrows on the other hand have always been grown. They have gone in and out of fashion, are used to bulk up jam, have been the butt of jokes, and grown to fantastic proportions by competitive allotment holders.
      I don’t know if Carol is right or not about the property market. As Celia says, who knows? We learn to ride the waves or we drown.

  2. We made some extremely yummy marrow fritters for lunch yesterday with the half you kindly gave us, and they were remarkably like courgette/zucchini fritters… does that help settle the question? BnJxx

  3. Marrow are “mature” squash of the species Curcurbita pepo. Courgette, zucchini, “summer squash” are the immature version. Makes me wonder if wily British farmers were keeping the young’uns for themselves and selling marrow to the masses as the best veg you deserved until you all joined the EU and discovered what the rest of the world was eating.

    • A specific type of courgette (meaning little courg or gourd). Please don’t buy into the idea of poor food here. It’s a myth. I think the war years must have been pretty dreadful, but I grew up, pre EU, with lots of fresh veg cooked not overcooked, homemade biscuits and cakes. We didn’t use olive oil (though Queen Victoria, long before my time had three different types of olive oil in her kitchen), we used butter, had wonderful apples before Golden Delicious were foisted on us. They are neither golden nor delicious and a prime example of marketing over taste. I also grew up with Polish neighbours, and am of French and German descent, so Europe and its food was not unknown. And imo courgettes are not the most exciting vegetable!

      • I’m not disparaging the British cuisine – I’ve confronted the “vegetables grown underground in cans” canard many times. Just suggesting that the British farmers were keeping the small squash for themselves. In my line of work I’ve discovered many local words in many languages that translate to Curcurbita pepo. How the courgette differs from the zucchini from the calabasita is beyond me – the cultivars must be invoked to explain the difference They are all very good in a sauce or in a fritter and as a summer vegetable should be enjoyed until they are replaced by their winter cousins. I hear Queen Victoria liked a good hot curry. Good on her.

        • That’s good to hear. I think traditional cooking from these islands has been badly represented in restaurants until recently. But we are magpies, so when we travel and we like something we want to eat it when we get home, so the domestic scene constantly changes and grows. Do read Tim Pears In a Land of Plenty. Eye opening. I have never heard the veg ground underground in cans canard. Courgettes sliced lengthways brush with oil or butter or and grilled are v tasty, and for some reason spiralising courgettes makes then v appetising.

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