Monday, June 30, 2008

Mangetout, or, J'adore la sérendipité et le franglais

One of my (many) guilty pleasures is my (absurdly overpriced) subscription to the British edition of House and Garden. Now that the American version is no more, this magazine is my main source of shelter porn, and oh, it's good. In addition to the unspeakably fantastic interiors, I love the recipes in each issue. I love reading English recipes, and not just because every single one makes me think wistfully of how late in my life I discovered the brilliant Elizabeth David. Over There, all the veggies have names that are so much more poetic, it seems, than those we use on this side of the pond. Rocket? Courgettes? Aubergine, anyone? Arugula, zucchini and eggplant all taste fine, but somehow the alternate nomenclature makes them sparkle. I also find it funny that the English, Franco-averse in so many other areas, tacitly recognize the culinary superiority of the French in their choices of many of these names. (My mother took the same tack: when I was a kid, she decreed that eggplant would henceforth be known in our house as aubergine, hoping against hope that a prettier name might inspire me to try it. You know what? It worked.)

Yesterday, reading HG, I discovered the nom de cuisine that may be my favorite of all: mangetout. I speak French, and other than a literal translation ("eat it ALL") I had no idea what this could possibly be. The photograph accompanying the recipe (a super-thin Asian-style omelet wrapped around bean sprouts, bacon and the mysterious mangetout) didn't really help--whatever the unknown ingredient was, it had been slivered right into unrecognisable.

The answer (thank you, Google) couldn't be more seasonally a propos, and I am hoping that my CSA pick up this week will, once again, include a healthy supply of delicious mangetout--known here as the more pedestrian "snap pea."

1 comment:

rebecca said...

Ooh, and I love your alty Britty spelling of s for z!