"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Leaf of the Day: Kohlrabies and Indexing

Well it's getting round to time for the next course submission piece and this time it is veg. I went to Wholefoods the other day for inspiration. I was not entirely overwhelmed by what I found, at this time of the year the squashes are over and the corn is finished but I did like these small purple Kohlrabies. I have never eaten Kohlrabi and read that it is not such a popular vegetable these days but there were piles and piles of them, so someone is eating them.

Kohlrabi Brassica oleracea from the Gongylodes Group.
Kohlrabi's true origin seems unclear, the name is from the German 'kohl' for cabbage and 'rabi' for turnip because of its mongrel appearance. The bulb part is not in fact a root but the thickened lower part of the stem which grows on top of the ground. Its appearance has a very quirky appeal, likened by some to a Sputnik or a hot air balloon. The leaves and flesh are edible and taste like mild cabbage, perhaps slightly sweeter.
Some sites say that the 1st century writer Pliny the Elder described a "Corinthian turnip" which could have been a variety of Kohlrabi. It was described in Italy in 1554, was first grown as a commercial crop in 1724 in Ireland and introduced into the USA in 1806. There are white and red to be found in the local supermarkets here. It is low calorie and easy to prepare. I will try it.

A little footnote to this: whilst researching the Kohlrabi I kept seeing a reference to the American Society of Indexing, here. As 90 % of my books have been reference books, I LOVE indexes. A good index is a complete joy and I feel bereft and sad if a book does not have one. I am 100% behind their aims to improve indexing in general. It is a fascinating site and one that gives hope to the disorganised. They have workshops.. lucky Chicago, who in October got "Taming the Wild Project List: Organizing Tools for the Complex Life: by Do Mi Stauber. Couldn't we all do with some of that!
However, having looked at the site, I am still not exactly sure why Kohlrabies and indexing go together. They do have the Order of the Kohlrabi which is bestowed on volunteer members who are deemed to have given great service to the cause and these lucky recipients become proud owners of the much coveted Kohlrabi pin.
They clearly state that "The American Society of Indexers did, at its 2000 convention, associate itself with the vegetable, kohlrabi," but not why...
Perhaps the significance, to indexers as a breed, is explained by their endearing motto;

"Kohlrabi: no one knows who we are, or what to do with us."

Here are some prelim sketches and colour studies... there may be quite a few more..
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Kohlrabi Preliminary Sketches






3 comments:

Tyra in Vaxholm said...

Hi there, your sketches are beautiful. I do calligraphy and watercolour sketches too and I so enjoy your blog.

Take care / Tyra

india said...

those wee colour samples remind me of someone...Solander, was it? on one of the exploratory excursions of the Big South...who drew in the field making colour notes as he went [referring to a previously established chart] and then filled in the colours later while "safely" back on the ship...

sharp green pencil said...

Thanks both, I think I might enjoy the kohlrabi painting,
India I recall reading recently about the explorer/artist who made colour charts .. will have to look it up. Its a very good idea.