A Parable: The Ugly Chicories

There was once a bundle of ugly chicories that stayed almost past their prime in the vegetable cool house. Every day a different cook on a different shift would sift through the bunches of carrots, browse the turnips and pluck a few red tomatoes from their vines but never, never would they venture to those ugly chicories.

The Ugliest Chicories!

The Ugliest Chicories!

One day, the poor chicories were in utter despair, lamenting at their brown tinge, and their unsightliness. They had exhausted  the hope that they would ever find themselves cozy in a bed of salad and dressing or garnishing a plate of grilled vegetables. Woe for those poor, ugly, ugly chicories!

On one particular shift, on one particular evening, a cook with a discerning eye came into this cool house. He checked his list to see what he may need: Browsing the turnips he snatched a few, plucking a carrot he grabbed two, looking through the red tomatoes he passed them up but the chicories, almost forgotten yet again were taken in bulk, surely, they thought, to be cast away in the garbage heap!

A whack and a wash will do them some good.

A whack and a wash will do them some good.

But to decompose in the stinking refuse was not their design for the cook with a discerning eye had something else in mind. He saw them to the core and clicked his tongue at the other cooks for their laziness and was happy to have made such a decision. First he gave them a whack at the stem with  a clean, sharp knife, then he gently gave them a wash in the colander. Sure enough, layer after layer of rot and slime did yield to a pretty yellow and white; what succulent leaves you have chicories-how sublime!

The core was beautiful as all can see

The core was beautiful as all can see

The story is complete and the chicories had been saved. They ended their days on beds of romaine and radishes, adorning beautiful plates of vegetables and meats-it goes to say that when working your day, in the heat of the kitchen and the business in your head, it pays to look twice; waste is the devil and downright grim. So in my closing tale, I venture to say, look at all with an even eye, look twice or maybe thrice and give those chicories a try.

– Joe Foley’s Foreign Sojourn
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