CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Cotswold voice: T’marrow never comes

PUBLISHED: 13:00 08 October 2014

What the health boss-pots fail to mention is that eating marrow is no more appetizing than guzzling ditchwater

What the health boss-pots fail to mention is that eating marrow is no more appetizing than guzzling ditchwater


Adam Edwards: Friends of mine who consider themselves gourmets admit that the only difference between a good shop lettuce and a home-grown one is the slug that comes with the latter

I am sceptical about the gratuitous bossiness of the Stasi health authorities that demand we eat five fruit or vegetables a day. I know many men who have eschewed greens all their adult life and none have scurvy. In fact I can’t think of a single ailment any have suffered from boycotting the Good Life. I assume this is because they get their five-a-day from ketchup (vitamins A, C, D, E and K), the pickle and onions in a Big Mac (vitamins A, B12, C, D, E and K), and the slice of lemon in a G&T (vitamin C).

My private guess is that the majority of the globe, at any rate those not below the poverty line, live relatively healthy lives without a daily rack of fruit and veg.

Anyway this five-a-day love-in reaches it apogee in the late summer and in particular in this latest of summers. The frost-free spring and the glorious May, June and July has given us a bounteous year. The farmers are smiling, the orchards are groaning and the allotments in particular have propagated a glut of home-grown veggies.

The vegetable patch is a mystery to me. I understand the satisfaction that comes from working in the open, of planting, nurturing and watching something grow, although I personally would loathe all the digging, the mud and the creepy crawlies that are a necessary part and parcel of such cultivation. But it is the culmination of the spadework that I find baffling.

I find it difficult, for example, to tell the difference between a vegetable patch tomato and those from a good greengrocer (there are now two excellent greengrocers in Cirencester). The same applies to peas (frozen ones are better and almost certainly fresher), beetroot, carrots, leeks and rhubarb. I am no epicure and accept that my tastes buds have been damaged by drinking and smoking, but those friends of mine who consider themselves gourmets admit that the only difference between a good shop lettuce and a home-grown one is the slug that comes with the latter.

Furthermore, I find the lack of moderation from the grow-your-own brigade incomprehensible. Why do these hobby smallholders produce so much? Is it, I occasionally wonder, because they are five-a-day zealots who like to spread their belief by palming off excess produce on heathen, carnivores like me?

The above may seem an unnecessary gripe. It might seem churlish to complain about the arrival of a free basket of apples or moan about the surprise appearance of a complimentary punnet of blackberries. However that is not how it works. The bestowals from the goody-grow fraternity are invariably runner beans (which one then has to peel), Swiss chard and squashes; and it is the latter for which I reserve a particular aversion.

A side dish of sliced courgette – deep fried in batter naturally – is an occasional pleasure but what does any sane flesh-eater do with a bag of the things? I have yet to meet a man who goes into raptures over a courgette bake, a courgette risotto and, in particular, ratatouille.

And then there is the marrow. “Marrow vegetables are low in calories with no fat or cholesterol,” claim the health police. “They provide significant amounts of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and calcium and a diet high in these nutrients may help decrease the risk of several serious medical conditions.”

But what the health boss-pots fail to mention is that eating marrow is no more appetizing than guzzling ditchwater. The vegetable is as pointless as Germaine Greer appearing on Pointless Celebrities. Marrow advocates will doubtless claim that the vegetable is delicious when stuffed. My answer to that is that if, as Shirley Conran wittily observed, life is too short to stuff a mushroom, then it is certainly far, far, too short to stuff a marrow.

And so the squashes and the Swiss chard that have been donated to me this year will return to earth as landfill and I shall continue my diet without my obligatory five-a-day.

I will of course be hoist by own petard in the autumn. When the abundance of late summer produce comes to an end it ushers in the season of free game. The wife of every countryman has a freezer choc-a-block with the spoils of her husband’s sporting prowess and I shall be expected to dine exclusively on pot roast Muntjac, pheasant stew, jugged hare, rabbit rillettes, game pie and more haunches of venison than there are roaming Richmond Park.

By the end of the sporting season I might even consider reviewing my opinion on the merits of five-a-day diet, although I suspect I shall get the necessary vitamins and nutrients they provide from a Big Mac and a Bloody Mary.


This article by Adam Edwards is from the October 2014 issue of Cotswold Life.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Get out and enjoy seasonal celebrations with a Cotswold twist

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hundreds of participating National Lottery-funded visitor attractions across the UK are saying ‘thanks’ to people who have raised money for good causes by buying a lottery ticket, including a number of venues in the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

“We’re looking forward to lots of festive fun this Christmas festival and hope to welcome lots of people to our town.”

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

“Faringdon upholds old-fashioned values through its traditional shops, personal service and shop owners who go the extra mile to make their customers feel at home.”

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Home to some of the country’s most breathtaking architecture and picturesque gardens, the Cotswolds boasts plenty of beautiful stately homes you need to visit. We pick eight special locations that are made even more magical during Christmas time

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Taking the classroom outdoors is fun, inspires fresh ideas, broadens horizons – and encourages a new generation to enjoy and care for the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, November 19, 2018

Chipping Campden – once the meeting place for a council of Saxon kings – now offers the warmest of welcomes to all its visitors, from the humble shopper to the seasonal shin-kicker

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

I send this postcard from Cirencester, complete with the discoveries and viewpoints from four members of my family – both the young and not so young

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

One hundred years ago this month the guns fell silent, marking the end of what was to become known as The Great War. Stephen Roberts remembers the impact the war had on Cotswold lives from 1914-1918

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search