I have in my possession a most useful book called The Woman’s Book, written in 1911. It is as useful as it is possible to be, for a book, because it ‘contains everything a woman ought to know’ – on topics such as household management, cookery, rearing of children, home doctoring, business, dress, etiquette, and even legal and career issues. Methinks this ignorant world of ours is in need of a definitive (but this time, gender-neutral) update.
The book recently taught me something I definitely needed to know. How to cook crosnes. Actually, to be perfectly honest, the book taught me of the very existence of crosnes.
‘Crosnes’ is pronounced ‘crones’ – the ‘s’ being silent, the clue for which is in the ‘correct’ (i.e alternative French) spelling of its name crônes, the little accent mark above the ‘o’ indicating a missing ‘s’. I tell you this so that if you ever come across it in the market, you will impress the grower greatly with your correct pronunciation, as I now will.
Once upon a time, probably since who knows when, the ugly little root known to botanists as Stachys affinis was grown in Japan and had an inscrutable Japanese name which I don’t know and would not dare to try to pronounce even if I did.
In the 1880’s a horticultural enthusiast (or entrepreneur?) in the French town of
Apart from the tricky pronunciation of its ‘official name’, the little tuber also goes disguised as Japanese (or Chinese) artichokes, chorogi, knotroot, and no doubt other things too. In case you do happen to find and decipher a supply, here is the recipe from the Woman’s Book.
(Fr. Crônes Japonaises)
½ lb Crones.
1 oz. butter
1 tablespoonful Cream
salt and pepper.
Method: this is a vegetable which has not yet become very popular, but it is very light and well worth eating. Crônes have a slight resemblance to
Note: they must not be overcooked or the flavour will be spoilt.
A good white sauce with cream may be added at the last, or the crones may be seved in small scallop shells with the sauce over and a little grated Parmesan on the top.
Quotation for the Day …
While it is undeniably true that people love a surprise, it is equally true that they are seldom pleased to suddenly and without warning happen upon a series of prunes in what they took to be a normal loin of pork. Fran Lebowitz.