Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Vive la difference - bring on the misshapes

Finally something sensible has come from the European Union. Last week they lifted the ban on misshapen vegetables. From now on, shops and supermarkets will be allowed to sell oddly shaped vegetables. The days of only being able to buy a perfect straight cucumber are gone – and about time too I say.

Decreeing that we can only buy perfect vegetables is like saying that you can only participate in society if are a beauty queen or at least willing to have a bit of botox. We all agree that this would be quite ridiculous because more often than not, the beautiful people are the most boring. Beautiful children learn at a young age that beauty opens doors and consequently don’t bother to acquire any of the skills and attributes that lesser mortals need to survive.

So often the not so beautiful people are usually interesting and funny, because they have to be. They have not had the leg up that beauty provides. They have had to learn the hard way. Take Britain’s Got Talent’s Susan Boyle. We were fascinated by her because she failed to live up to the societal ideals of both looks and behaviour and yet still had the ‘voice of an angel’. She was newsworthy because of the juxtaposition of her looks and talent. She charmed the world despite her lack of polished looks because she had something different to offer, other than just bland beauty.

Around my hometown we have a phrase used to describe a certain type of wealthy woman – the burkha blonde – why? Because, for all her pampering and preening (and she does look fantastic for her age!) she looks like any other woman of her type and may as well be wearing a burkha. Her hair is coiffed and cut in a certain style, She wears the best designer outfits and has a body to die for, but despite all this, she blends into the background, because she looks just like the rest. She could be anybody.

Forgive me if this sounds bitchy and mean, I mean these pampered women no ill and would love to look so well preserved, but what I am trying to get at is that by focussing on a pre-ordained value of beauty we are stripping ourselves of our individuality and differences. It is our quirks that make us unique and should be celebrated.

So when it comes to my veg – I say bring on the ugly and mis-shapen, because regardless of the fact that they will cost on average 40% less than they beautiful counterparts, they are more often than not the tastiest vegetables in the field.

Mark my words: as we return to a taste for rustic/nursery food, I predict that misshapen veg will become the designer vegetables of choice and will be appearing on the plates of the chicest dinner parties.

Remember this when you sit down to a contorted carrot at your favourite restaurant – you read it here first!


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