You are what you eat

Although, for a long time on the back foot, there is optimism in the last few days that we may yet beat Covid 19. In the space of a week we have progressed from our darkest hours of lockdown to the promise of two – count them, two – vaccines for coronavirus. I’m going to write about those separately so hold your horses.

Anyway, not being able to go to supermarkets due to the lockdown – yes I know you’re all ignoring it – has rather focussed my mind on what I eat. Currently I have three sources of food. These are the local farm shop (not actually very local – nearly 5 miles away), taking up offers from friends/family and finally food by post.

Normally I ignore flyers through the door. In fact some days I don’t even pick them up. Double glazing offers, handprinted bills by amateur tree surgeons, prayers for the day and dental plans offering me Hollywood teeth from an address at the far end of the goods station yard (second floor, ask for Benny). The usual stuff.

Most flyers never percolate into my consciousness. But one, the other day, offered to bring the me “odd” vegetables, misshapen versions of their supermarket siblings and veg so numerous that only the fittest should survive. Somehow, and perhaps because of my own misshapen corporeal manifestation, this aroused my interest.

Mail order vegetables are commonplace nowadays. Riverford probably started this trend but others have carried the torch as well, each with their own little USP. But as far as I know nobody has yet traded in imperfect vegetables, the runts of the litter, or in those surplus to requirements. Until now. The company is called Oddbox. I shan’t do their advertising for them – you can look them up – but the idea seems worthy and rather noble. Rescuing vegetables that would not otherwise find their way to your plates. Think of it as Schindler’s Ark for vegetables.

And let’s not forget fruit. Same deal.

Here’s the skinny. For a fixed sum you can order a large, medium or small box of vegetables, fruits or both. You set up an account and that’s it. They deliver to your door in eco-friendly cardboard boxes. As a further concession to eco-living, they deliver in the middle of the right when there is less traffic on the road. Yes I follow the logic but it’s a brave man who would knock on my door with an armful of vegetables at 3 AM.

Fortunately that scenario has not yet played out. The vegetables are left, covered by a little waterproof bag in a sensible place of your choosing. Today’s cornucopia consisted of an aubergine, a lettuce, a cauliflower, six carrots, twelve small onions, four beetroot, three potatoes, six kiwifruit, five pears and two pomegranates. No mention of partridges or pear trees. Oh and a recipe for carrot and onion bhajis. Can’t say fairer than that.

With the end in sight for coronavirus hopefully, I need to get in shape a bit. Well actually I need to get in shape a lot but let’s not get too excited yet. A few vegetables is a start. And if I can help to eat the oddities and superfluous of the vegetable kingdom, so much the better. It’s the first small step towards better health.

Incidentally, you can tailor your vegetable box to your tastes. Even specify the vegetables you prefer not to receive. Up to a maximum of three – I don’t think they want to encourage the overly fussy. Like the Emperor Nero, I have given the thumbs down to courgettes, celery and tomatoes. Aubergine would also have got it in the neck had there been a fourth place offered.

But not to worry. You can always barter with fellow vegetable box peeps. The aubergine and lettuce are already on their way to Crowborough in exchange for Mary Berry’s marmalade cake.

Don’t give me that look.