Posted by: kathandroger | November 14, 2010

Parsnips, sheep feeders and Bitten

One thing we have come to discover about your typical Frenchman (or woman) is how conservative they can be in their ways. Being such culinary experts, as many are, and given their great passion for their potagers we have been surprised at how little they experiment or search to try out new produce. Clearly this is a gross generalisation, but in our limited experience in rural France it is fairly typical. They all grow the same vegetables and indeed variety of vegetable they (and their parents, and their parents) have always grown, planting and harvesting them virtually on the same day each year, then preparing and cooking them in the same way (of course there are one or two exceptions). Consequently, whilst one enjoys a consistently high standard of cooking here, it can be more limited in its imagination and variety than – dare I say it – l’Angeterre. There, I said it!    

One example of the above is the good old parsnip – or panais as it is known (or rather unknown?) here. We wondered if it was because it didn’t grow well here, or if it was another of these vegetables that the French think is only good for animals/was eaten in the war when there was nothing else available (as is the case with swede), but it just seems that no one knows it exists or it is not one of their ‘usuals’. How they are missing out! Delicious crispy roast parsnips or a spiced parsnip soup – what could be better on a cold winters day? We’ve certainly answered the question as to whether they would grow here – here is one I dug up today measuring a full 40 cm (or 16 inches for the oldies).


So that’s our new quest – convert the French to the pleasures of the parsnip!

To other matters, Roger has been playing Chippy Minton again – this time he has made a hay feeder for the sheep, of which he is very proud. It’s his very own design – apparently – and he wanted me to post a picture…so here it is!


Speaking of sheep, Bitten is looking much brighter, a week after the dog attack. However, she is still struggling to move around, so she is not quite out of the woods yet (literally!).

This time last week we were excited about the commencement of our barn conversion work. Well, it didn’t quite happen – due to illness and equipment problems chez the mason – but we are hopeful for a new start date of this Tuesday….let’s keep our fingers crossed!


  1. Good luck with the parsnip quest. We have been trying the same for the past 9 years without much success. Last year, however, one of the supermarkets started to stock them. Suspect this is more to appease the ex pats than a sign of change in the cultural habits of the Luxembourgish though. We too have had great success growing them here and totally bemused why they are not more popular.
    C’est la vie.
    Hope Bitten is on the mend. Love, the Dunns xx

    • Thankyou. I’m afraid we have bad news on Bitten though – after seemingly picking up she has bitten the dust today… poor old girl. Apparently that’s the way sheep are, according to vet Rog! a bientot x

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