Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Peanut butter and toadstools

The clerodendron leaves, when crushed, have something of the smell of peanuts, but I wouldn't say it was really of peanut butter, that sweet, appetising, roasted aroma. I like peanut butter and I don't care if Elvis did die of it. I like that it is both sweet and savoury at once, and I also enjoy the quality in it that many people object to: the way it sticks to the roof of your mouth and your teeth. I call that good value in a foodstuff, it doesn't disappear too quickly.  On the other hand, I don't much care for whole roasted peanuts in any form; I resent that they make me eat them when I don't really want to.

No, the leaves have rather the less agreeable odour of raw peanut husks, or of that fine papery, bitter skin between the husk and nut, or or stale peanuts, the ones you feed to birds in winter. Some years ago, I remember hearing, there was a huge batch of bad, poisoned peanuts deemed unfit for human consumption in the UK. They were sold as bird food, with catastrophic consequences for the bird population for many years. Reminds me in turn of an occasion of a serious deadly outbreak of some kind of toxin in a popular brand of tinned salmon. My parents had Bob the painter and decorator working on the house at the time, who remarked he had thrown away a couple of tins from his cupboard. He could have brought them for our cat, remarked my mother. Do you want to kill him? asked Bob.

Inconsequential stuff. I only pledged I would sit down and post at a given time every day, I didn't make any promises as to its worth. I could plead that I've just written away a good part of my substance in a very enjoyable e-mail exchange with a lovely blogging friend who wanted to know where she ought to go and eat in Amsterdam, and I fell into a dream of Indonesian rijstafels and such like delights, but that would be a poor excuse.

But it's been a good day, I made myself go out and scratched up some weeds and the last dead stems of the butternut plants, and sowed phacelia, and, as always, wondered why I'd been so reluctant to kick myself out of the house. It wasn't so summery as it has been but was still warm, and good for the spirits. Joe once recalled how his mother used to chase him out of doors into the fresh air on sunny days, 'and to some extent she still does'. Which is, of course, spot on.

I took the camera out with me as resolved and took just a few pictures, not too many, as also resolved, and edited them directly on the notebook computer, which I'm getting used to doing now.

Fungus and decay,

the finches have finished with the sunflowers,

but there are still poppies.

No frost yet.


the polish chick said...

i saw the notification for your email on my phone, and as soon as i did, i realised it needed a leisurely perusal. having (once again) returned from ikea, i'm pouring myself a cup of tea and reading the missive.

as for peanut butter, the polish translation was always just nut butter, and as such ,i imagined it to be something marvellous, not unlike nutella, made of hazelnuts and butter. when i first tried it after our move to canada it was one of the more serious disappointments of my young life. over time, however, i grew to like it, although i'm picky - i only eat the stuff made with peanuts and nothing but peanuts. once salt or, heaven forbid, icing sugar get into the jar, i'm no longer interested. and it's gotta be crunchy!

once again, thank you for your email!

Ellena said...

And who wants to go outside when having fun knitting, editing photos and sniffing the aroma of the next meal and who wants to go inside when weeding, sowing and fresh air feel good?
I don't like peanut butter because of what you say is its quality.

Catalyst said...

SWMBO has always liked peanut butter. I didn't until recently. Now I'm in love with it. And Elvis did NOT die of eating it. His untimely departure was due to a massive dedication to prescription drugs.

As for weather, it's been spitting rain off and on here all day and the forecast is for snow in the high country tomorrow and possibly close to us by tomorrow night.

Lucy said...

PC - you're very welcome, I love thinking about eating in Amsterdam. How do you feel about tahini? I often think that is a really classy, exotic version of PB. A flatbread sandwich with tahini and rose petal jam (or quince or medlar butter) is a kind of Lord of Tartary PBJ, I reckon. Come over some time and I'll make you one!

Ellena - exactly! When I'm in I want to stay in and when I'm out I want to stay out. Tom would concur with you on the peanut butter.

Bruce - it's never too late to acquire a new taste, or even to get to like peanut butter. I know Elvis didn't really die of it, it's just Tom, who has no trouble eating peanuts in their whole form, always tells me he did when he sees me eating it. However, we did once see a documentary about Elvis's diet, throughout his life and in the period before his death and it was fairly convincing that it didn't help!

Raining here now too.