Thursday, 21 June 2007

Out of My Box

I have never been tempted by those organic produce boxes which many people have ‘delivered to the door.’ For starters, they include vegetables that you actually have to peel before you cook them – you can’t simply prod a plastic bag with a knife, and bung it in the microwave, like normal vegetables. It seems that cooking them requires considerable amounts of creativity too. I’m not sure I would know what to do with a courgette (no rude suggestions, please) never mind a bulb of fennel. Do you screw the fennel into a light socket? As for chard – that could either be a salad leaf, or a general description of my cooking.

I was asking some friends today why they pay for these boxes which require them to eat purple–sprouting broccoli for the entire month of February, or Brussels sprouts when it isn’t even Christmas (can you imagine the horror!). One of them, who is a very good cook, said that she liked being challenged in the kitchen. I nearly suggested she come round to my house and I would introduce her to my kids. They challenge me in the kitchen on a regular basis.

What really surprised me was that most of my friends signed up to these organic box schemes because the company which delivers them donates 20% of the cost to the school that their children attend.

Now, I can’t decide who is the more cynical – me, or the company that delivers the boxes.

This marketing masterstroke enables them to exploit the lucrative combination of parental guilt and charitable donations in one fell swoop.

The organic produce box enables you to feed your kiddies with healthy vegetables (you know you should) and you can donate money to their school at the same time - how can you resist? Everybody wins!

Hmmmm, everybody that is, except the frazzled mums who now have to spend twice as much time trying to make an evening meal out of celeriac and alfalfa sprouts, while paying handsomely for the privilege.

I am feeling rather irritable about this. Yet again, I seem to be out of step with everyone else’s warm fuzzy glow. My own method of generating a warm fuzzy glow will be to demolish the best part of this bottle of cherry-and-plum Secano Estate Pinot Noir (M&S £6.99) from Chile. It needs a bit of time to breathe (don’t we all) but now its silky finish is gradually smoothing my raised hackles.

During today’s conversation, one of my friends did concede that she’d had a lot of trouble getting her kids to eat some of the vegetables that had been delivered. ‘We eat an awful lot of soup at the end of each week’ she said, ‘and the rabbit is looking really healthy these days.’

I can’t see myself taking delivery of any organic produce boxes in the near future. I think I’ll just stick to wine boxes.


Mya said...

Absolutely! Organic wine is pretty easy to get hold of these boxes if you like, or large crates!

beta mum said...

I'm with you on this one.
The kids like carrots, broccoli, capsicom, cucumber, apples, grapes, green beans and... I've forgotten the other thing.
But they get their five-a-day (most days anyhow) based on a tedious succession of these fruits and veg... and will continue to do so until they're willing to try new things without wailing.
I can do without organic bloody veg boxes turning up out of the blue to tax my severely limited culinary imagination.

Omega Mum said...

Hear, hear. I need fewer, not more, challenges in my life. It's this religious 'greener than thou' stuff that does it.

The Good Woman said...

I love the image of the incredibly healthy rabbit. Yet another virtuous outcome of the granola box.

Stay at home dad said...

Great chard gag. Liked that. What happened to the Pinotage? You obviously weren't sipping it for long!

Heidi said...

I'm with you. After Abel & Cole had delivered me their fifth box that didn't contain a single thing that I recognised, I gave up. Why make life more complicated? Wine boxes, on the other hand, now I would like to have those delivered and enjoy the weekly surprises.

mutterings and meanderings said...

I do like the idea of organic veggie boxes, I do like the idea of organic veggies ...BUT I don't like the organic prices ...

Elsie Button said...

lol. you'd be impressed with us drunk mummy - we grow our own. organic veg does taste so much better (oh god, am i being irritating?!)

Peter May - The Pinotage Club said...

SAHD -- the Pinotage was yesterday. A great wine like that wouldn't have lasted long -- there wouldn't been any left for today. (no matter what size glass :)

Lucy Diamond said...

We tried an organic veggie box for a while - it was a nice novelty at first in that I ate beetroot for the first time since leaving school but I felt terrible about all the uneaten turnips and swede that ended up in the compost.

You're right to prefer boxes of wine - at least you get your money's worth!

Akelamalu said...

I love veg, but Artichokes? WTF is that all about? A huge thing like that, when you can only eat the miniscule bit in the middle! No thanks. Now organic wine is a different matter. I wonder if you can make organic Artichoke wine? Mmmm.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

now do you really do microwaved veggies for tea? No wonder you always sound so 'up' and in control, i shall try and follow your example!

i'm enjoying sahd and Peter's exchanges on this blog, it's like getting two blogs for the price of one! If only his pinotage came the same way!

DJ Kirkby said...

Nooooo! We've just signed up to a vegetable box to our door scheme. Why couldnt you have posted this last week! Pour me a glass of that wine would you? I'm too busy making veg soup to do it myself!

Mopsa said...

I'm obviously against the grain...grow most of my own veg but in the first year here there were other things to do than plant a veg patch. Riverford stuff was fab, varied and cheaper than the equivalent supermarket veg. Don't despair!

Drunk Mummy said...

mya - I like the sound of large wine crates!

beta mum - yes, we have the 'If it's Tuesday, it must be carrots' mentality too.

omega mum - I agree. Don't you find that the 'challenges' are getting more challenging?

good woman - apparently its a very glossy bunny!

SAHD - the pinotage stayed by my side for the entire evening, until the bottle was empty. I rather generously let H have one glass, but I guzzled the rest of it myself. You really must try it - it's quite something.

heidi - yes, instead of the anxiety and confusion as you peer into the veggie box, can you imagine the unadulterated joy at looking at a wine box instead!

M&M - I think the concept of 'organic prices' means that they grow, naturally.

elsie - no, not irritating at all - I imagine you grow stuff that you know and like to eat. That's the difference!

Peter - you are right. That pinotage didn't stand a chance once the cap came off! Thanks for recommending it - I'm really looking forward to trying the other wines you suggested.

lucy - yikes! beetroot! I like swede, but there is only so much of it you can eat in one lifetime!

akelamalu - artichoke wine - what an interesting idea, and probably the best thing to do with such a fussy vegetable!

Pig - doesn't everyone microwave their veggies?
Yes, SAHD and Peter do seem to have hit it off. Although they will keep comparing the size of their goblets - such a boy thing.

dj kirkby - oh no! But look on the bright side - you could always try to make artichoke wine!

mopsa - well done for trying to cheer dj up (I think she is now crying into her vegetable soup)