Day 123: 4 Month Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to me!  I have now been a vegetarian for four months!

The Silly Asparagus has been far too busy to blog over the past week — apologies for my absence.  I have been eating out a lot over the past ten days.  I will now share three of my outings with you…

I have been to Nando’s twice in my life.  You can read all about my first experience here: http://wp.me/p21TV4-2i.  I have little to add to my initial views of the place.  I had the bean burger with mash again.  However, I did try something new: halloumi.  I hadn’t tried halloumi before, but veggies seem to get very excited about the rubbery cheese. I really enjoyed it, unfortunately my skin did not.  Eating certain cheeses causes my skin to breakout.  Cheese triangles are the biggest culprit — this is most unfortunate, because I adore them.

It was a week of seconds, as I made my second trip to another restaurant: Crazy Bear, in Beaconsfield (http://crazybeargroup.co.uk/beaconsfield/).  Crazy Bear has four restaurants: English, Thai, Italian and Japanese (opening in May).  The Silly Asparagus ate at the Thai restaurant.  Crazy Bear offers a set ten or twelve course menu.  A majority of the dishes contain meat, but can be altered to be suitable for vegetarians.  However, courses are put on the table and shared.  As the only vegetarian out of eight diners, it was inconvenient to ask for vegetarian dishes.  Thus, I ate a lot of rice and crackers!  I would not recommend Crazy Bear for vegetarians, if you are dining with a lot of carnivores.  If you are only eating with a few others though, it would be quite easy for Crazy Bear to fill your veggie needs.  For Thai-loving carnivores, Crazy Bear is a a delight.  I do not feel disappointed at what I ate — before turning veggie, the only Thai I ate was chicken satay.  I would not have gone anywhere near venison or the black cod that they had to offer. Dessert arrived, beautifully presented.  I’m not certain as to what it was, it resembled a panna cotta / cheesecake / jelly.  I was instantly suspicious of the creamy pud.  The chef confirmed my suspicions: ‘not suitable for vegetarians’.  After four months, I am getting good at spotting non-veggie food.  I was given sorbet instead.  MY GOODNESS, the sorbet was a mango, lychee, strawberry-infused heaven!

My final food adventure for today’s blog took place in Windsor.  After taking a look around the mighty Windsor castle, it was time for lunch.  Papa, Mother and Baby Asparagus ate at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen (http://www.gbk.co.uk/).  I hadn’t heard of the place before, but there are at least 60 in England.  I had a very yummy bean burger with super skinny fries (oh, the irony!).  My meal was delicious.  I do feel that it that it was over-priced though. Everything is an extra, including the chips and sauces!

“You can see the best sights in the world, but the eating is the best part of the day”.  Father Asparagus, Windsor, 2012.

With Love,

The Chubby Asparagus

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Day 113: Super Soya

Hello darling.

My ‘Site Stats’ for this blog have shown that people have found The Silly Asparagus through Google by asking the question, ‘Do Marks and Spencer sell Quorn?’.  I haven’t discussed this before.  In the last year or so, Marks and Spencer have started selling food from brands other than themselves.  You can now go into M&S and find Cadbury’s chocolate, Kellogg’s cereal, etc.  However, as far as I am aware, they do not sell anything by Quorn.

If you have been following The Silly Asparagus from the beginning, you will already know that I love Marks and Spencer.  I might be a student, but places like Asda just aren’t my scene.  Whilst Marks and Spencer do not stock Quorn, they do have their own range called ‘Super Soya’.  Today, I bought the ‘Super Soya Sausages With Onion Gravy & Mash’.  Okay, I’m still not exactly cooking, but this was very yummy!

As well as the ‘Super Soya’ range, M&S also have a great vegetarian range.  I have briefly mentioned the range before (https://sillyasparagus.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/day-67-catch-up/).

I am clearly hoping that those in charge at M&S will see my enthusiasm and passion for their company and hire me as their vegetarian spokesperson.  I can see the posters now: ‘This is not just any silly asparagus…’.  Unfortunately, whilst the likes of Rosie Huntington-Whitely are around, I have no chance.

Well, that is quite enough free advertising for one day.

Bye bye.

The Silly Asparagus.

Day 111: My McLife

Today was not blessed with a yummy roast dinner.  Some of us are far less conventional and enjoy spontaeneous Sunday outings to McDonald’s.

I went up to the counter and asked for a veggie burger.  The response: “I’m sorry, we don’t do veggie burgers”.  The lady then raised her hand and pointed to the Deli menu.  Is McDonald’s now looking for Michelin stars?!  I definitely had a plain veggie burger at a McDonald’s about two weeks ago.  Maybe I just went to a posh one this time?

So, instead of having a veggie burger, I had the Spicy Vegetable sandwich.  It was yummy, and guess what?  It tasted exactly like a veggie burger.  This asparagus is silly and needed to pick out the salad.  Here was the meal…

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It doesn’t look great, but it tasted good.  People have asked me if I have lost weight becoming a vegetarian.  I can confirm that I have not.  I may not have consumed a BigMac, but I did consume this…

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In other news, today is Mother’s Day in the UK.  Happy Mother’s Day to all mummies out there and those that are no longer here.  Mother Asparagus does not read my blog (she is still coming to grips with things like laptops and iPads), but here are some old photos of the pair of us that adorn my wall:

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Enjoy what remains of the weekend.

Veggie McLovin’

The Silly Asparagus

Day 110: Unlucky Charms

Happy St. Patrick’s Day my little leprechauns!

I am rather saddened today.  I went out last night, and in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, the club was handing out boxes of the American cereal, Lucky Charms.  After some two-for-one cocktails, my friends and I were sat around a table eating the sugary delights.  I took a handful and picked out the good bits: the marshmallows, and discarded the rest. This morning I awoke and realised that marshmallows contain gelatin(e).  I have therefore consumed a weird concoction of animal bone, skin, organs and intestines.  Whilst I am disappointed, it is the first veggie mistake I have made and it was unintentional.  I do know vegetarians who eat gelatin(e), but it is not something I will be eating again in the future.

I will be staying well away from Lucky Charms from now on.  Póg mo thóin,  leprechaun!

Enjoy your Guinness and jig!

Gráim thú followers!

The Silly Asparagus

Day 109: Ich bin ein Spargel

Hello.

Today is partly a confessional and I hope that you will be understanding.  Since becoming a vegetarian, I have been tempted to eat meat 4 out of 109 days (only tempted)…

Those four days were during my time in Berlin, about three weeks ago.  Before turning vegetarian, hotdogs were one of my favourite foods.  I quite simply loved them.  I would go to the cinema, mainly for the hotdog and not for the film.  I would slice frankfurters and sprinkle them on pasta.  I would have hotdogs on the BBQ.  Considering I am fussy, it was a weird food for me to like anyway — goodness knows what sort of meat they are made from.

Anyway, Germany is home to the sausage.  You can buy a coffee and a bratwurst / frankfurter for €1!  I ended up with a bratwurst in my hand.  Mr. Carnivore bought us one each on our third day.  A kind German man even covered it in ketchup for me…

So, I was about to eat this rather amusing looking food, but I just couldn’t do it.  No matter how much I used to love them, I am now a vegetarian and they are off the menu.  To his delight, Mr. Carnivore ended up with two.  The asparagus won.

I loved Berlin.  If you are looking for a cheap city break then I would recommend it.  When I went to Paris, I paid €7 for a Diet Coke.  In Berlin, you can get drinks from as little as 45¢!

Here are some more photos of the German food journey…

Standard airport breakfast…

Airport breakfast

Playing it safe with a pizza Margherita.

Dunkin' Donuts are everywhere in Berlin!

I adore the Hard Rock Cafe and the one in Berlin was no disappointment. As a starter Mr. Carnivore and I shared potato skins. Half had bacon on and the other half were without.

I had never seen whipped cream in soup until this trip...

Ich liebe dich, Berlin.

I hope you are impressed that I managed a post about sausages without making any puns.  Keeping it classy.

With love

The Chubby Asparagus.

Day 108: Leather

Good moro my lovelies.

Last week, I shared some of my feelings about fur (https://sillyasparagus.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/kanyewest/).  A subject that I have not yet discussed is leather.  In my very first blog post, I described my love for leather handbags.  My initial reasons for becoming a vegetarian were not related to animal welfare, but such issues have become something I am now very interested in.

When turning vegetarian, the first thing I did was sign up to PETA (http://www.peta.org.uk/).  PETA can get a very negative response because they often deal with topics in extreme ways.  Whilst I do not agree with all their publicity stunts, they are a wonderful charity and I have learned a lot from them.  They have some great campaigns, such as the ‘I’d rather go naked than wear fur’ adverts, a slogan which they have been using for years.

In this PETA video, Stella McCartney discusses the leather industry and she makes some eye-opening points.  As well as discussing animals, Stella also points out the effects on humans in the leather industry.

Whilst I will not be getting rid of any leather products that I already own, I will make informed choices in the future.

With love,

The Silly Asparagus.

Day 107

I wasn’t going to do a post today, but I have just read an amusing article by Suzanne Moore and thought I would share it with you:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/14/meat-vegetarianism-dietary-advice-class?CMP=twt_gu

Whilst she is not a vegetarian and will continue eating what she deems ‘Frankenmeat’, Suzanne shares some funny anecdotes about her vegetarian daughters.  I can especially relate to the part about Quorn.

Enjoy.

With love,

The Silly Asparagus.

Day 106: Movie Magic

Hello there.

The other day, I watched a film trailer that got me incredibly excited.  Did you know Despicable Me 2 is due for release in 2013?!  I loved the first one and I can’t wait for the second one.  The trailer doesn’t give anything away, but the minions are as funny as ever. If you haven’t seen Despicable Me, I would recommend seeing it NOW.  I am featuring the teaser on my blog because the Asparagus loves Despicable Me and the minions are talking about fruit and vegetables.  Maybe the minions are veggie too?

Cute huh?

In other (movie-related) news, I have enrolled at Hogwarts as part of their further education scheme. I was obviously sorted into Slytherin.  My talented friend Vicky (http://vickywong.org/) has knitted a scarf for me in celebration…

I am now off to see A Dangerous Method.  It’s all about the big screen today.

Farewell.

The Movie Star Asparagus. x

Day 102, Alphabetti:

I am a pathetic excuse for an asparagus.  When I began this blog, I had every intention of filling it with beautiful recipes.  I thought I would be able to convince carnivores, with my magnificent culinary skills, that turning vegetarian was the way to go.  I had dreams that my creations would even inspire those who have been vegetarians since breaking out of the womb.  The truth is, after 102 days of being a vegetarian, I have not cooked a proper meal.

I have friends that have become vegetarian or vegan for lent.  They are putting me to shame.  After two weeks, Alys has already posted some rather lovely dishes on her blog (http://hereistotheveggies.wordpress.com/).  My vegan pals have been making some snazzy food, including caramelised-onion tarts.

This is the stage I am at…

I am going to improve.  For the sake of my health (and fat ass), I need to widen my diet further than my favourite food group: chocolate.  You will find some yummy recipes on here.  Just not today.

I hope you are well and looking forward to the weekend.

With love,

The Silly Asparagus.

Day 101: Go Green

Good day to you.

I am sorry for my rant yesterday.  I have calmed down now, and the images of Kanye West’s laughable attempt at fashion are slowly fading away.  I’m going to keep it lighthearted today.

I bought this card a few weeks ago and it has been amusing me ever since…

Perhaps the Green Party would gain more support with a campaign like this.  Okay, so I wouldn’t make a great politician, but at least I would be mildly amusing.

*Disclaimer: I did not design this card, I just bought it. Apologies if you have found it offensive.*

With love

the Cheeky Asparagus. x

Day 100: Kanye West

Hello my darlings.

Apologies that I have been a way for a while. It would seem that asparagus lead busy lifestyles. I am pretty sure that today is my 100th day as a vegetarian! Today, I want to talk fashion. At first, this post is going to have a rant about Kanye West, but I hope to reach a valuable point.

During London Fashion Week (February 2012), I found myself face to face with Kanye West. Kanye — let us pretend for a moment that I am on first name terms with the man, was wearing every pastel shade imaginable.  This chance encounter reminded me of what was coming: his second collection, which would be shown at Paris Fashion Week.  His show took place last night, and Twitter was too preoccupied with his fabulous after party, that the collection took a backseat.  However, today the claws are out.  I have several problems with Kanye and his attempt at breaking into the fashion industry. My first, is that his first collection was terrible. Despite this, he was still able to show in Paris, again. I have friends who are fashion students. Many of them are so incredibly talented. They, and other designers, work hard day and night, and the likelihood is that unless someone amazing such as Lulu Kennedy (Fashion East’s fairy Godmother) discovers them, or NEWGEN supports them, their designs will never see a fashion week.  Whilst they are learning their crafts the hard way, I can’t imagine that Kanye even knows how to stitch a button.

So, why have I featured Kanye on a vegetarian blog? One word: Fur. I am not going to nag you all about the fur industry and throw red paint over your clothes, but it is hideous. I know people who love fur, and will defend wearing it until they are blue in the face. I admit that I own fur. I made my fur purchases before I became a vegetarian and they are vintage. I can’t do anything about animals who were turned into coats 60 years.  However, we are now in 2012, we do not live in the arctic and faux fur no longer looks faux.

Kanye’s collection featured a lot of fur last night.  Some of the fur he used is known as ‘Astrakhan’.  This is the pelt of unborn lambs, yes foetal lambs.  For the fabric to be called ‘Astrakhan’, the lamb it has brutally taken from must be under the age of three days. Congratulations Mr. West, not only did you produce the worst fitting collection that Paris has seen (since your last collection), you managed to kill some sheep and their unborn lambs in the process.  Bravo! What added to the fur-fest was Kim Kardashian, brazenly sat on the Front Row in a white fur stole.  Yes, Kim, you have money. But temperatures in Paris were approximately 10°c last night. Unless you were roughing it in an igloo in Finland, I am rather certain that you did not need an animal draped around your neck.

Here’s my advice Kanye, the fashion pack are not all vegetarians and will literally eat you alive.  One of your albums is named ‘College Dropout’.  May I suggest that you return to college and get some proper training, before making collection number three.  Maybe save us the laughter and the column inches altogether and go back to making music.  Oh, and stay away from the lambs.

Yes, some of you will disagree with what I have said.  I would just like to point out that Stella McCartney produces beautiful collections season after season.  She has never compromised her position on fur in the process.  Meadham Kirchhoff showed some spectacular monster-inspired fur coats during fashion week (see below), but no animals were harmed in the process because the fur was fake.

If you are going to wear real fur, don’t buy it ignorantly.  Make sure you make an informed decision and understand the message you are sending out.  Around 85% of fur comes from farms.  China is one of the largest exporters of fur. The idea of wearing mink might not bother you, they are seen as a pest, especially to farmers.  But what about dogs?  Yes, you could be wearing a dog on your back.  Oh right, you fancy yourself as the next Cruella De Vil.  Wonderful.

In the next few days, this riled asparagus will discuss leather.

Thanks.

Lots of love.

x

Day 69 (immature giggles).

So, it snowed last night.  I do not like the snow.  I especially dislike the snow when there is no blue sky… I do not wish to photograph a dreary scene.  I would like the snow more if it meant that fluffy baby penguins fell from the sky and came to play. But, they don’t.  Asparagus like to be fresh, not frozen.  That is the last time I will moan about things I have no control over. I need to be positive.

Today I am giving you my article about vegetarianism that was published in the University of Reading newspaper, Spark*, a few weeks ago. Some of it is repeat material from the blog, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.  Apologies for such a ‘texty’ post today.

This is exactly how it was printed (I am obviously on day 69 now, not 47):

Vegetarianism 

At the time of writing this article, I have been a vegetarian for 47 days.  Not that I’m counting or anything.  Turning ‘veggie’ was a very spontaneous decision.  I literally woke up one morning and decided that I would no longer eat meat.  My lifestyle change has received both positive and negative response.  There are so many stereotypes about being vegetarian.  People around me started warning me about becoming a tired and pale hippie.  For a girl whose nicknames already include ‘Casper’ and ‘Snowy’, I don’t think I need to worry about becoming any pastier.  Plus, there is nothing wrong with pale hippies anyway.  I am sure they are just as happy as tanned hippies.  I also faced a lot of skepticism.  As I did not become a vegetarian for specific reasons, my friends and family have assumed that this is simply a phase that I am going through.  Well my friends, I survived Christmas without scoffing pigs-in-blankets, so I am pretty certain that being a veggie will be a permanent change for me.

Regarding food, life as a vegetarian does not have to be boring.  I admit that it has been slightly boring for me, but that is because I am fussy. I prefer the simple things in life, such as pineapple, poached eggs and crumpets (not together though!).  Becoming a vegetarian is helping me to become less fussy.  I have discovered all sorts of wonderful foods.  Except for Popeye, who knew that spinach was such a delight?  I eat a lot of Quorn.  There is the standard response that Quorn tastes like cardboard.  It doesn’t.  The new vegetarian range at Marks and Spencer’s is divine.  As well as veggie kievs and lasagna, they even sell vegetarian Percy Pigs!  Madness!

I have not become a vegetarian to lecture people about health or animal rights.  Although, I must point out that there are many benefits to being a vegetarian.  On average, vegetarians eat 25 per cent less fat than meat-eaters; this tends to mean that vegetarians have a lower Body Mass Index.  Vegetarians have a slightly longer life expectancy than meat-eaters.  Vegetarianism can equal lower cholesterol levels and a decrease in the risk of suffering from a heart attack.  The media is currently focused on recent studies that suggest that bacon and red-meat are linked to cancer, especially bowel-related cancers.

Save the animals!  850 million animals are killed every year, in the UK alone.  That number does not include the hundreds of millions of fish that are also killed.  A majority of these animals are subjected to cruel conditions in factory farms.  The meat industry brings suffering to so many creatures.  Becoming a vegetarian means that you are no longer contributing to their misery.  As well as saving animals, vegetarianism could also solve world hunger.  That is a big claim to make, but one-third of the world’s grain is fed to farmed animals.  According to Viva! The amount of veg protein fed to the US beef herd would feed almost the entire populations of India and China.  That would make a difference to two billion people.  35 per cent of the world’s population can be fed on a meat-based diet.  However, a plant diet could feed everyone.

I understand that some of you will never consider becoming a vegetarian.  However, why not try meat-free Mondays?  Famous Beatle and vegetarian, Paul McCartney has been leading a campaign that asks people to give up meat for one day a week.  If everybody gave up meat for just one day a week, it could make a huge impact on the planet.  As well as improving one’s own well-being, world hunger and animals; vegetarianism would also greatly reduce pollution.  Visit www.meatfreemondays.com for more information and recipes related to the campaign.

Being a vegetarian has had a very positive impact on my life.  I have become less stressed and a lot more energetic since turning veggie.  It has changed my attitude to many things and at this moment in time, I do not think I will be eating meat again.  I really would recommend this change to you all.  I have only touched the surface, there is so much more to being a vegetarian.  If you are interested in following my journey as a vegetarian, please take a look at my blog: http://www.sillyasparagus.wordpress.com

Day 68: Percy

I hope you are having a great weekend.

When I became a vegetarian, I resigned myself to the fact that I would never eat a Percy Pig again.  Whilst I am happy not eating the collagen from animal skin and bones (gelatine), I have missed Percy and his sugary pinkness.

Now, I had heard rumours about Percy Pigs suitable for vegetarians.  But I had never seen them in any Marks & Spencer… until TODAY.  I squealed like a pig myself when I saw them.

These veggie sweets are even yummier than their brothers.  Next time you buy some, opt for these ones.  How cute are their green ears!  Remember that only Percies with green ears are suitable for vegetarians.

(Children, don’t play with your food — I got nail polish on these little fellas and they have to live in the bin instead of my tummy). Please ignore my duck-face impression.

Oh, and Marks and Spencer, as I have mentioned you two days in a row, please feel free to send this poor student food packages and / or clothes.

Thanks.

With Love,

The Silly Asparagus.

Day 67: Catch-up

Hello there sugarplum.

I promised to update you on my Christmas as a vegetarian.  Today is the day!

What I learned during the festive period is that if you stop eating animals, they will start eating you…

Don’t worry, I managed to fight the crocs off — my legs are still intact.

A popular question that I have been asked by many people has been: “What did you have as a meat alternative for Christmas dinner?”.  Well, I didn’t.  With it being Christmas, I wanted to avoid causing a fuss or making chef (papa) go to any extra effort.  So, I probably ate every thing that you did, minus the animals.  I did not miss meat at all, as I sat there munching delicious roasted parsnips.  I was not tempted by the poor little pigs, who sat in their cosy blankets.  I felt sorry for the poor turkey, who will never gobble again.  I did try sprouts again for the first time since I was force-fed them at nursery. Eating 1/4 of the miniature ball of cabbage taught me that I still do not like them.

New Years Day had a lot more to offer for the veggie. It was time for a buffet and Marks & Spencer came up with the goods.  Good old M&S have a new marvellously extensive vegetarian range.  I would highly recommend it to you all — veggie or not veggie.  (I should be getting paid for this advertising!)

I feel that now would be a good time to make a confession.  During 67 days of being a vegetarian, I have not made a single veggie meal from scratch.  I am ashamed to admit that  I have spent 67 days heating foods such as Quorn.  My resolution is to cook more — this has gone as far as buying a recipe book.  Hopefully, I will make some progress next week.  Please note, I say ‘hopefully’ because the only kitchenware I have with me at university is one plate, one bowl, two saucers, a fork and a spoon.  Oh, and some glasses. Nigella I am not.  I can bake, but baking for oneself would be a recipe for disaster (and obesity).

For any of you missing Leo (http://wp.me/p21TV4-1L), he had a lovely Christmas.  Unfortunately, Leo is not a vegetarian and thus he had a full Christmas dinner.  He received his own tree decoration and some special mince pies.  Puppy gets bigger each time I see him, but he is still as cute and as cheeky as ever.  Here are some of our winter adventures…

Well, that is more than enough of those festivities.  I have filled you in on what you have missed, so I will let you go.

Goodbye for now.

The Silly Asparagus.

Day 66: Unha-pea

Good moro!

Today, I am going to moan to you about the dreaded pea.  I will understand if you decide to stop reading now…

Just because I am a vegetarian does not mean that I like all vegetables.  I am getting better, but I still have a long way to go.  There is one vegetable in particular that I have a real problem with: peas.  I refer to peas as ‘the evil green army’.

A few weeks ago, my best friend and I went on a night out.  It is tradition for us to end the evening with a sophisticated meal.  Prior to being a vegetarian this meant chicken. Chicken nuggets, chicken burgers… I didn’t mind as long as it was accompanied by a big red splodge of ketchup.  Now that I do not feast on our feathery friends, I had to find an alternative.  I had one option, the almighty veggie burger.  I was quite happy sneaking bites of it during the taxi ride home. But then I saw it in the light… yes, I had unknowingly become a victim of the evil green army.  You see, it is not so much the taste of the pea that I cannot stand.  It is their ability to get EVERYWHERE.  They really do just turn up when you least expect. How dare they.

I’m also suspicious of them because I never see them fresh.  At the supermarket, I can pick which shiny apples I bring home.  But I have never seen a pick-a-pea option. They are normally too busy in the frozen section, infecting the poor carrots and corn.  Or they can be found sitting on shelves, mushed and wearing a putrid shade of green.

There are bridges with peas on!  Each time I go from Reading to Hertfordshire on the M25, I see ‘Give Peas A Chance’.  There is a Facebook appreciation page for this bridge (https://www.facebook.com/givepeasachance).  I’m sorry bridge, but I do not want to give peas a chance.  I stand for peace, not peas.

I’ve been particularly unha-pea recently.  There are less than two weeks until Valentine’s Day (yawn).  This means it is impossible to go shopping without seeing tacky items covered in hearts.  I have one question: Who decided to make peas cute?!  I have found so many Valentine cards covered in peas.  The peas stare back at me with scary faces.  There are the ‘two peas in a pod’ cards.  There are the ‘we go together like peas and carrots’ cards — I blame Forrest Gump for that one.  ‘Ha-pea Together’, ‘Ha-pea ever after’… Why is this pea wearing a hair ribbon and lipstick?!

The only solace I can take from peas are the words ‘petit pois’.  Just say it.  Doesn’t it sound wonderful?

Apologies that all I have given you today is a rant about peas.  I hope you can understand where I am coming from though.  Please leave me a comment about your most hated foods.  Or, if you would like to defend the pea, go ahead.

To my millions of adoring readers, if I have not already made this clear,  please do not send me Valentine’s Day cards with peas on.  Or birthday cards.  Or Christmas cards.  Thanks.

I will try to make my posts a bit more exciting in future.

Long live the asparagus!!