Much excitement today – and an early sign that the hounds of Spring are on Winter’s traces – as Waitrose (how middle class am I?) was offering the first forced rhubarb of the bright new year, fresh from the darkened sheds of West Yorkshire. I like to imagine that it is hand-picked by candlelight – but this may just be my romantic nature getting the better of me.
The farmer’s daughter on the checkout was also pleased to see the roseate blush of proper Yorkshire rhubarb. However, she noted that on her checkout it was identified as an exotic fruit. Exotic fruit!? I can think of many adjectives to describe the fine county east of the Pennines, but exotic would not be one of my first choices. The pedant in me is also forced to point out that rhubarb is not a fruit.
Another amusing howler perpetrated by the Waitrose checkout was the identification of the cucumber as a root vegetable. Now, the cucumber is a fruit (unlike rhubarb) and I’m pretty certain it grows above the ground – very few green things grow underground (except the District line, and that hasn’t grown much in recent years) due to the difficulty that chlorophyll has with photosynthesis without the aid of sunlight (but I’m no botanist).
What are we teaching young people these days? How old do I sound? If I carry on like this I’ll be writing to the Telegraph next – arghh!