Ten years ago I scoured the country for a pumpkin. "Pumpkin? What is it?" they asked in Fortnum & Mason. It's like a squash, I said. "Squash? What's that?" they asked. Now there are long rows of strange-looking gourds in my local supermarket. But does anyone know what they are? I don't think so. The reason I know this is that each squash comes with a little label. As a rule, I think it's smart to avoid buying food that has to wear nametags.
Nor should we trust the labels. Certainly I never knew just how difficult it was to cook a squash (and there I was thinking you just threw it in the oven for an hour). So far, though, the faction prize for label-writing goes to whoever penned the "serving suggestions" on frozen cranberries (another American import). I was not taken in. The only good cranberry is a dead cranberry attached to a dead turkey.
Blueberries are more promising, but they aren't that great. So I couldn't help but suspect something when they started to take over the supermarket. There are blueberry bagels and muffins and pancake mixes. There are frozen ones and fresh ones which sell for the outrageous price of pounds 1.99 for 20 or so. Why? And then, in Red magazine, I found this under the headline "The Miracle Berry". "The substance that gives blueberries their colour also contains anti-ageing and cancer-fighting properties. In fact, blueberries have reached `superfood' status since US scientists discovered that they are a powerhouse of anthocyanins - antioxidant compounds that neutralise free radicals (harmful molecules that can damage DNA), which may lead to cancer and heart disease." Evidently they suggest that we eat a handful of blueberries daily. As I figure it, that's a rather expensive idea. I cannot help but note that it was made in the USA.Reuse content