“Cruciferous vegetables?” we blink, “what are they?” I’m familiar with groups such as alliums and know a little of brassicas but have not a clue about this curious term.
We have had a proper shock. Rocket, the one and only love of my life, has been diagnosed with cancer and we have struggled with the enormity of this news, although we are inevitably coming to terms with the surreal reality of our situation. I will say first that we have re-grouped and have reason to be positive, but in the first instance, as many of you will understand, we have struggled with a level of stress not previously encountered.
Back to the tale….
We have been handed a plethora of information to process and as is our want, the salient facts that stood out to us both were those that related to food stuffs that can positively affect this demon within. We now understand these loftily named crusiferous beings are the group of veggies we would usually understand to be brassicas, your broccoli, cauli and so on. Although cruciferae are not confined to the brassica genus, so it also includes things like kale, horseradish (of the genus amoracia – yes indeed ‘get me’) wasabi, watercress, rocket and so on.
Henceforth we resolved to creatively fashion dishes factoring in not just these veg (the cauliflower rice has been particularly delicious) but a range of other ‘good things’ and in general, dialing up our healthy eating.
During the most stressful times of the diagnosis process.. ‘you’ve got this going on but now we need to test for that thing’ we fled, a need to be elsewhere, to try to struggle out from beneath the crushing cloak of fear and stress.
We found ourselves at the coast in Kent on a few of the most beautiful autumn days you could imagine, medicine of the very best kind. Under the canopy of a cobalt sky, surrounded by the freshest seafood with the gently lapping sea as our soundtrack, we were bathed in early harvest sunshine.
One of the ways in which such a diagnosis affects you is that you must next share both the information and the stress with those closest to you… you must impart that which they don’t ever want to hear and see the pain creep silently into their lives. It is intensely unpleasant. So it came to pass that, once installed in our fisherman’s hut by the sea and with a slap up lunch at the legendary ‘Sportsman’ firmly in our sights, we were pleased to welcome daughter’s No1 and 2 who spontaneously joined us. We laughed, we cried and we had the most delicious lunch. Recognising the joy in life has never been more important and neither has the love of our family and friends who have already helped us through and will continue do so, no doubt, in the months to come. We are fortunate indeed.
The Sportsman is a pub in an area called ‘Seasalter’ http://thesportsmanseasalter.co.uk/ it’s chef patron Stephen Harris won a Michelin star in 2008 for his delicious dishes with produce sourced from the very local area…the oysters are, of course, from Whitstable (a five minute drive away) the salt marsh lamb on the menu grazes in the fields opposite the pub. We were offered Kentish gin with our tonic, the seafood was all of the most sustainable nature. I can recommend lunch or dinner there without hesitation , this was not our first visit – it will not be our last!
Back home in London we still feel the warmth of that autumn sunshine, and smell the fragrant ozone on the breeze. Our positivity relocated, with renewed determination and the help of a few cruciferous vegetables, we shall knock this thing right out of the park.