WOMBOK

22 November 2011

Not long before I got married I got some important and insightful advice from a close friend. Now this guy had been married twice, so he knew a thing or two about how the whole caper might go.

‘You need to understand your role in this.’ he explained, ‘It’s not complicated, but it’s important that you get it right.’

‘Turn up, wear a nice suit, and remember to kiss her mother.’

A little cynical? Perhaps. But truth be told he’s not so far off the mark. Weddings are about brides, mothers-of-the-bride, and bridesmaids. Men are not supposed to get involved, in fact we’re not even supposed to understand. There’s a reason God gave us ‘Y’ chromosomes. ‘Why’ indeed!

From a masculine distance the greatest tension in a wedding is often not between the bride and her mother-in-law, but between the bridesmaids as a pack. Hmmm, perhaps ‘pack’ is not the correct collective noun, but I shall persevere.

The role of the bridesmaid is to support and assist the bride while getting in some match practice before her own tilt at the title. If it ever comes. Pretty straightforward, huh?

Now with the greatest respect, this is the role of a vegetable.

Think about it. Take wombok, Chinese cabbage, as an example. It never features as the main course, in fact it’s usually hiding under something on the buffet. Alone, unappreciated, and under-utilised. At times the poor wombok must fear it will never find a perfect partner.

But like all vegetables (and I’m talking wombok now, not bridesmaids) all it takes is something hot, steamy and rather saucy to bring out its best.

Cook wombok quickly over the highest heat you can. Chuck in something spicy (chillies, ginger or pepper) and make sure there’s a sauce of some description, Chinese barbecue sauces like hoi sin work a treat. Wombok has a lot to offer if you take the time to treat it right.

Who knows, if you get it right, you might just end up married to the idea!
Wombok salad with sesame crusted pork

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