Posted by: kathandroger | December 2, 2009

Restos du Coeur and Jerusalem Artichokes (again!)

There has been a lot on the news recently about the Christmas campaign of the ‘Restos du Coeur’. This is a voluntary organisation started 25 years ago by a French comedian called Coluche (who tragically dies in a motor bike accident at the age of 41) which provides food and clothing to the needy. They have had a large increase in demand this year due to the financial crisis and so are short of volunteers. We decided it would be a good thing to do – to help others, but also for Roger’s french. Today was our first day. We were greeted very warmly – clearly a great atmosphere amongst the team of volunteers – and it was suggested we do the coffees, hot chocolates and teas (though only had one request for tea – and having tasted it I’m not surprised. These french have no idea about tea!!). We had just over a hundred people (over 200 expected next week) and all passed off almost without incident. There was a bit of a rumpus in the queue outside, but that was all. It was a good insight into something a bit different to the UK and good to meet a lovely team of people.

Back at base, we have been researching more about our dear old Jerusalem Artichokes. We found an interesting quote from 1621 about them, referring to the fact that some people don’t digest the inulin they contain well:  “which way soever they be dressed and eaten, they stir and cause a filthy loathsome stinking wind within the body, thereby causing the belly to be pained and tormented, and are a meat more fit for swine than men.” (Gerard’s Herbal, printed in 1621, the English planter John Goodyer). There appears to have been little change in their effect since then!

Despite this – we have loads to eat – so we are in search of different ways to use them – aside from boiling, roasting and making into soup. Apparently artichoke rissoles are good, and sautéing with a bit of garlic and sage sounds interesting. Any other suggestions gratefully received!! 


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