Saturday, May 03, 2008

I lost – London it is. We’re going down next Wednesday, returning on Monday the 12th. London is tough, and it’ll take a couple of days at least to recover, but I should be reunited with my vegetable patch by the following weekend. It means missing the first day of the annual Christian Aid book sale, too (Saturday the 10th) but Lindsay will be looking out for VKBs for me.

London at least is good for knitting – I am delighted with the way the broad ribs are looking on Thomas-the-Elder’s socks, and will push hard to get the pair finished or nearly, while we’re there. Picture tomorrow.

Maryjo0 (comment day before yesterday), I’m always happy to talk about books. Currently, I have my sights on “Vatid, Troid, Vamsad” which Schoolhouse is selling. (I buy a lot of knitting books from them.) It occurred to me, after my embarrassment over “Cables, Diamonds, Herringbone” the other day, that this is just the sort of book I might have already bought, shelved and forgotten.

And it also occurred to me that I now have the definitive solution to that anxiety: LibraryThing. I went and looked it up and I don’t have it. It’s expensive; I’ll hesitate for a bit; but I think I’ll order it.

I’m awfully glad I took the trouble a few months ago to catalogue all my knitting books in LibraryThing. There is a certain amount of disorder around here, but those books are all together in two places (except for a few on the floor here around the computer, and occasionally others under the bed) and I am sure LibraryThing has them all. The very first and most fun thing I do when I buy a new book is rush to LibraryThing and put it in.

So if they say I don’t have “Vatid, Troid, Vamsad” I can be sure I really don’t.


I think we’ve now got sorrel nailed. Mel was right, as usual: sorrel the weed is closely related to but not identical with the culinary plant. Helen the indefatigable traveller about the Internet found this site. Rumex acetosa is the delicious plant I have just put in two of; r. acetosella is a creeping weed; r. scutatus is French sorrel.

Despite what the Penguin Companion says, Else, I think acetosa is probably the commoner for eating purposes. I bought one scutatus and put it in: it’s very tasty, but the leaves are very small and as the nice woman said who sold it to me (at the weekly Strathmore and the Glens market in the Wellmeadow in Blairgowrie last Saturday) it takes a lot of picking, and is best used as an accent in a salad.

(Why “scutatus”? Why not “scutata”? Else’s right – that’s the Latin for French sorrel. But why?)

Callie, thanks for the reference to Joy of Cooking. Sure enough, my copy says the same, about using stainless steel or enamel when cooking sorrel. I don’t use that book much any more, but it remains a mine of information. I had it out recently to remind myself how to make milk toast (not a British thing) for my husband in the extremity of his recent tooth-suffering, when carbohydrate intake had to be maintained. And I remember once looking up – but not using -- her recipes for cooking squirrels. Mrs Rombauer is no slouch.


  1. "Joy of Cooking" is a much-used reference in my house. I know I can get most of my questions answered there.

    My parents just delivered a requested order of garden seeds (no sorrel) on their way south last evening, so I expect I'll be doing a bit of planting in the next few days.

  2. Mrs R. is wonderful. I'd never made a pavlova before (my national dessert, for heaven's sake!) and had to construct one from scratch for a consular event when we were living in Los Angeles. Mrs R.'s recipe for meringue worked out beautifully. Of course, driving for two hours for the only tin of passionfruit pulp in the whole of LA county is another story entirely....

  3. I see I am not alone in my respect for the research value of Joy of Cooking, although i rarely use for recipes. I once helped a friend dress and butcher a deer using Joy as our reference! Thanks for the Library Thing reminder, i do have some new books to add, including Cables Diamonds, which I purchased from Amazon for $13 - not so expensive here.

  4. Squirrel recipes? This reminds me of an American cookbook we found once in a holiday cottage where a recipe for making sandwich spread out of beaver was given, along with some sympathy for those who were asked to prepare unusual hunting bags for the pot.

  5. Anonymous1:30 AM

    The mix of genders of the Latin names of the various Rumex species is interesting. My experience is in Zoology, where there certainly is a convention that species names should agree with the gender of the genus name, and a quick scan of the International Code of Biological Nomenclature indicates they also have such a standard, but there are lots of exceptions cited. This must lead to the mix of male and female names among the various species of Rumex listed in Wikipedia.

    The ICBN is here:

    More than you asked?

  6. Anonymous1:31 AM

    Whoops, the link for the ICBN was MUCH too long, but just Google for it if you are feeling masochistic!

  7. We were once gifted with a newly kilt and skinned squirrel. Using the recipe from J of C, I was able to butcher, batter and fry it. It was eaten.

    I understand that Mrs. R wasn't that great of a cook, but she know people that were and wasn't afraid to ask them how to do something.