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What conspiracy is at work here? (was: Irish Food)

Beverly Erlebacher bae at cs.toronto.edu
Tue May 27 11:37:42 EST 1997

In article <5mdd0h$e5e at Starbase.NeoSoft.COM>,
Cameron Laird <claird at Starbase.NeoSoft.COM> wrote:
>In article <5m9vt3$eei at lyra.csx.cam.ac.uk>,
>Nick Maclaren <nmm1 at cus.cam.ac.uk> wrote:
>>In article <5m9iu3$d2h at Starbase.NeoSoft.COM>,
>>Cameron Laird <claird at Starbase.NeoSoft.COM> wrote:
>>>In article <2788 at purr.demon.co.uk>, Jack Campin <jack at purr.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>>Before or after the genuinely largest immigrant group in Britain (i.e.
>>the Anglo-Saxon-etc. lot) moved in? :-)
>>I don't know any varieties of cabbage that are hardy enough to thrive in
>>the Highlands, and the same remark applies to most modern vegetables.
>>Note that just growing isn't enough - they have to set seed most years.
>>But I don't know any modern crofters, and I may be wrong.
>>My guess is that the staples of pre-feudal Highland non-nobles would
>>have been pretty close to the wild plants - much closer than even the
>>toughest and nastiest of modern varieties.
>			.
>Neither do I know of (narrow-sense) cabbages that
>set seed at the high latitude *and* altitude you
>mention.  I *think* the emigrants in my lineage
>whose names I know were Lowlanders, so my intent
>was a bit skew to your questions.  Incidentally,
>I'm fairly sure I could propagate (edible) rape and
>comphrey in those climes, but I know of no indi-
>genes who did so.  One of the pot-herbs whose use
>is documented is nettle; I'm quite found of its
>flavor, but it certainly does contribute to an image
>of the vegetable fare of Scots as "tough and nasty".
>Then again, while meat dishes certainly aroused
>Scottish enthusiasm, they also were often ... un-
>refined in preparation.

How about kale?  That's a traditional Scottish veg of the same species
as cabbage.  They may have had collards or other loose-heading cabbage
forms.  Did they have turnips or turnip greens?  

Btw, no reason that heading cabbages couldn't be propagated in that climate.
Cabbage is biennial, you just have to overwinter the stumps after you harvest
the heads.  If it's too cold to do that in the open, you can bury the stumps
or heap earth or straw over them.

Kale overwinters in the Ottawa Valley, which gets winter temps down to -40,
albeit with snow cover.

People grow enormous cabbages in the long-day cool-summer climate of the
Canadian Yukon.

Leeks are another traditional British veg, another biennial which 
overwinters for me with no protection of snow or otherwise in a much
colder winter climate than is found anywhere in the British Isles.

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