If all goes according to plan, I will be posting this from
Rapunzel is another name for rampion or ramps (Campanula rapunculus), a species of bellflower with an edible root and leaves, both of which can be used in a salad.
Scorzonera ((Scorzonera hispanica ) is from the family Asteraceae, the family that includes the sunflower which we featured last week. It has a long black root and is a cousin to the white-rooted salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius), which we have met in a previous story. In recognition of their relationship, it is sometimes referred to as ‘black salsify’ but once upon a time was also called by the far more interesting name of viper-grass because of its supposed protection against venomous snake bites. As if that wasn’t enough names between them, both salsify and scorzonera are also sometimes named ‘vegetable oyster’ because of their supposed similar flavour.
Skirrets (Sium sisarum) are a species of water parsnip, also now hardly grown, but very common in early cookbooks, before they became overwhelmed by the invasion of bright orange carrots into
Salsifis, Skirrets, And Scorzanera,
Are not much known in
The Lady does not include a recipe for rapunzel in her book, but luckily good old Cassell’s Dictionary (1870’s) comes to the rescue, while bemoaning its passing from popularity.
The root of this plant, which is white and spindle-shaped, used to be much in request for the table under the name of rampion or ramps. The plant is now little cultivated in Britain, but it is still commonly grown in France for the sake of the roots, which are used either boiled or as a salad, and of its young leaves, which are also employed as a salad. The esculent roots are far more delicate than turnips or radishes: the seeds are ophthalmic. The root, either sliced together with its leaves in salads, or eaten as the radish, as well as boiled like asparagues, is most palatable when drawn young, and eaten fresh from the ground.
A Retro Cookbook.
Quotation for the Day …
One of the gladdest moments of human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of habit, the leaden weight of routine, the cloak of many cares and the slavery of home, man feels once more happy. Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890)