No, these are not witchetty grubs as eaten by the people who used to be Aboriginies but are now Indiginous Australians, they’re oca tubers as eaten by Elsie. But before we get to them I have other stuff to tell you.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve put a few more bits and bobs on the Accessories for sale page recently including a Ruby Buttonholer Type RB and a Vanguard Buttonholer. There’s a Singer Hemstitcher and Picot Edging Attachment 120687 (a.k.a the imitation hemstitcher) listed now, and another lovely Singer Automatic Zigzagger 160985 (the black one).
I’ve also listed a Singer Buttonhole Attachment 86662 with a scruffy box at a good price, and we’ve realised that in fact we have available a choice of these, all of which have been sorted by me and tested by Elsie so there’s nothing between them in terms of how well they work. This, by the way, is the black version of the cream buttonholer with the red knobs that I’m on about, and the price is entirely dependent on cosmetic condition and how good the box is.
There’s more interesting things heading for that page in the next few weeks including a very nice green-box buttonholer 160506 and a Singer Zigzag Attachment 160620. That’s the small one you don’t see all that often, which from a distance in bad light looks a bit like the Singer Blind Stitch Attachment. And we’ve got a couple of those coming too!
I’m a bit busy making a built-in cupboard in the batchroom this week, but I’ve started work on blog posts about tension and about oiling your vintage Singer ‘cos we’ve had requests to do something about those two subjects, as well as more on maintenance of vintage Singers generally. I was actually trying to finish one about oiling so it could come next, but that’s got put back by what we came home with on Sunday.
Would you believe that on the very day I posted part two of the thing on electrical safety, we bought a 201 with what turned out to be the most dangerous DIY rewire I’ve ever seen? It’s an absolute classic this one is, so it gets a post all to itself and that’s what I’ve got to finish off tomorrow, so I’d better get the oca done and dusted now …
OK, those things are oca tubers, they’re related to the sunflower, they were one of the staples of the Incas, and they’re about the size of your thumb, give or take a bit. They’re grown and eaten like new potatoes, except after you’ve dug them up you need to let the sun get at them for a few days to improve the taste, which is reckoned to be like new potatoes with a hint of lemon sauce.
Elsie likes them, but I can’t see the point of them (stuck in his ways is my Sid. E). Mind you, that’s pretty much in line with the usual household division here where vegetables are concerned. We’re both huge on beans, brassicas and so on, but when it comes to roots, Elsie gets really enthusiastic about things like turnips and parsnips whereas my own feeling about them is that times are not yet hard enough for me to start eating prison camp food.
Actually, yesterday we dug up the last of Elsie’s Jerusalem artichokes – or to be more precise, we dug up maybe 30% of them and left the rest wherever they’d wandered off to so they spring up next spring and I can kill the confounded things off with my hoe.
The very wonderful William Cobbett at one time famously described the Jerusalem artichoke as “a mischievous weed that Frenchmen and pigs eat when they can get nothing else”, but in Cottage Economy (1829) he offered this priceless advice on the cultivation of it – “It is a very poor, insipid vegetable, but if you have a relish for it, pray keep it out of the garden, and dig up the corner of some field or of some worthless meadow, and throw some roots into it”.
Top man, was Mr Cobbett. He’d probably have thought much the same about oca.