Sunday, February 26, 2012

A fennel conspiracy?

What is it with the French and their fennel?

I recently ran out of herbes de Provence, a variety from Savory Spice that I'm fond of, and decided to "splurge" on one of those familiar little crocks of the herb mix imported from France. Imagine my dismay when I peeled off its international plastic sani-wrap and discovered that about a third of it was the foul stuff.

Of course herbes de Provence should have some fennel, but this was more than I could bear. I started plucking the offensive seeds one by one before it dawned on me to to use a mesh colander. This allowed me to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, and now the remaining mix has more breathing room.

Me, too. I was so horrified that my husband felt moved to pluck some daffodils from the garden to cheer me up. He also poured me a glass of wine, purely for medicinal purposes, which seems to be helping.

I know that fennel is adored by many, and I've been tricked into eating the braised bulb more than once and lived. My distaste for it in all forms even managed to offend an otherwise Zen butcher at Whole Foods, who recently bristled when I asked if they had any house-made turkey sausage without it.

"That's what makes it Italian," he said, looking at me as if I landed from Mars -- where it no doubt flourishes in its inhospitable environment.

So if anyone would like a jar of lavender-spiked fennel seeds, let me know.

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