• In season now: May

    New this month: Asparagus! The food of gods... and carrots are back.

    Still in season from last month: cauliflower, chard, green cabbage, salad leaves, main-crop potatoes (from store), salad leaves, sea kale, spring greens, rhubarb

    Goodbye till next year to: Purple sprouting broccoli (sniff, sniff), leeks, stored parsnips, forced rhubarb

  • What I’m doing here

    This all started when I picked the first strawberries from my new allotment.

    I'd never been so enraptured or so excited by food. It was a shock to find that anything could taste so good.

    So what - I'd never had strawberries before?

    No - all the strawberries I'd had were shop-bought, like as not flown in from intensive growers in Spain or Chile, and eaten in winter when strawberries should be a distant summer memory.

    It revolutionised my thinking about the fresh food we eat every day. I started to wonder if you got the same amazing taste from all types of food grown and eaten in season. And then I decided to do something about it.

    The Year of Eating Seasonally is my little experiment to find out what it's really like not to have it all. The only fruit and veg I and my family are going to eat in 2008 will be what's growing in the ground at the time (or, in winter, what I can get out of store).

    I want to find out if the hungry gap is really as hungry as everyone says it is: whether you're really eating nothing but cabbage all winter; and whether you miss strawberries in December.

    Along the way I hope I'll save a few tons of carbon being released into the atmosphere on my behalf, as I won't be requiring those French beans flown from Chile, thanks very much. And I hope I'll be rediscovering what food can really taste like.

    If you have any comments, please feel free to post them anywhere you like - or you can email me at sallywhite@hotmail.com.

Sprout-eating children

Domestic goddess rating: 100% (feeling ultra-virtuous having prepared spectacularly good meal on a working day) Five-a-day: 5/5 Food miles: 50-ish

On the menu: Toast, jam ‘n’ juice (breakfast); cheese and pickle sandwich (lunch); lancashire hotpot and steamed brussels sprouts  (supper)

Smug, smug, smug… snatched half an hour in my lunchbreak to make a lovely hearty Lancashire hotpot for supper, popped it in the oven on the timer and all I had to do was steam some sprouts amid the chaos after the kids get home from school. I feel like I’m getting closer to figuring out how you do this.

I have kind of wierd children. Not because there’s anything wrong with them, you understand – it’s just that they eat sprouts. Happily. They’re the only kids I know who actually like Brussels sprouts, and though I’d never let on to them in a million years that I think it’s so unusual, I really do think it’s… well… unusual. They’ll eat cabbage, too, and if you really want to push them, they’ll have a few mouthfuls of curly kale (with less enthusiasm, it has to be said).

I put my success in getting them to eat their greens down to two things. First – we actually eat them. Greens, I mean. Regularly. Second – we never ever made a fuss about it when they ate some. So you never had that thing of “ooooh look you’ve eaten a sprout – aren’t you a good girl, eating your greens, well done…. blahblahblah.” So they kind of never got the idea that there was anything odd or unusual about eating cabbage/sprouts/greens – it was just always taken for granted that they would, and they never thought to question it really. Luckily, because nobody else’s parents would ever risk feeding visiting kids sprouts, we never get that reaction given to them from anyone else, either. So … well, we have sprout-eating children!

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