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Tony Grist

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Skirret [Oct. 10th, 2015|05:05 pm]
Tony Grist
I do the Telegraph cryptic crossword most days- and sometimes I learn something.

Today, for instance, I had to solve the clue, "Plant starts to ruin everything in border"- and the answer had to be "skirret". Only what's skirret?

I looked it up and found two meanings.

1. Skirret is a root vegetable, rather like parsnip only more peppery. It comes from China, was a favourite of the Emperor Tiberius and popular with the Tudors- but then fell out of favour because it's hard to grow commercially.  They're currently cultivating  it in the kitchen gardens at Hampton Court.

2. Skirret is the proper name for the peg and string tool used by builders to make sure their foundations and courses are running true. Freemasons use it as a symbol of straight dealing.

[User Picture]From: faunhaert
2015-10-10 06:30 pm (UTC)
skirret is a many root carrot,
with round leaves not skinny,
the predecessor of the carrot.
a perennial they say.

it fell out of favor
because they're more work than carrots
but sweeter.
they'd make a type of custard with it.

I've got some planted
they started from seed
not going to try till harvest next year.
they flowered just like a carrot
with tiny white flowers.

They made it thru the rains
when the potatoes and tomatoes melted.

they call a skirret a plumb bob too.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-10-10 08:15 pm (UTC)
I've been told the Eastern Europeans like them. Maybe I'll be able to find some in one of the Polish shops that are springing up all over. I'd like to try them.
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[User Picture]From: nineweaving
2015-10-11 12:11 am (UTC)
There are skirrets in Moonwise: "skirrets, runch, and madragora."

I've long wanted to try this skirret pie, with sack-laced custard, bone marrow, and dates.


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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-10-11 08:46 am (UTC)
That would turn out rather like a modern mince pie, I think.

I'm very fond of mince pie.
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[User Picture]From: porsupah
2015-10-12 08:18 pm (UTC)
Skirret! Don't think I've even heard of it before. But then, whilst supermarket selections have certainly improved tremendously in the past twenty years, vegetables have stayed rather static, for the most part - indeed, it's rare now to find fresh horseradish, which I encountered for the first time in quite a while at Waitrose a couple months past, but not since.

I'll have to enquire of skawinski if he knows of it - we have quite a strong Polish community in town, though what I've seen of the vegetable selection at the Polish minimarts has been fairly humdrum, much like Spar of old, with a different accent. (The sausage selections, though.. oooh)
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