I imagine it would be right up there with the so-discreet-as-to-be-invisible charms of the Cartoon Museum (tested, barely survived), or the Museum of Radiology (as yet untested, but who could resist?).
I have just found this list of Brussels Museums and look! There is a CHICORY MUSEUM. Do you dare me to go?
We have skirted round the issue of chicory on these pages many times. Perhaps we should delve a little deeper (look. I haven't left the house for 2 days, you aren't going to get any reports of scintillating social interaction. It's this or a photo of the dog looking mournful).
Here's a chicory squirrel I made earlier (like, in 2008, but ssssh):
1. Belgium has a love of chicory which defies understanding. They braise it, bake it, gratin in and call bars after it . I imagine they feel about it a little like the British feel about a plain digestive biscuit, a sort of meagre but satisfying pleasure. The phlegmish for chicory is witloof. White leaf. A very literal language, phlegmish. I could probably find out why they like it so much, surely? Hang on, that's what the interwebs are for ...
No. There appears to be no good answer to this question in all the vast resources of la toile except that they "invented" it, apparently in 1830, when a peasant decided to grow his .... well, his whatever-they-had-before-they-had-modern-chicory, in a dark cellar (I have reluctantly redacted a poor taste Belgian joke here, which you may now guess). Incidentally, when you put 'pourquoi les belges' into Google and allow it to finish your sentence you get a vast sequence of Belgian jokes.
Why do Belgians, suggests Google:
- go to mass with a bucket of water?
- wear pyjamas to ride a motorbike?
- take their glasses off to get breathalysed?
Among many others. None of these jokes translates, so do not ask me the punchlines. If you speak French you can probably guess them anyway, they are all awful.
2. Chicory is the flesh eating zombie of the vegetable world; eerie and impossible to kill. It has a shelf life equivalent to the half life of a radioactive strontium B isotope. The one I used to make this penguin (today! This very morning!):
had been in the fridge since 1987.
3. You may think that carving chicory is an easy and amusing activity for a housebound neurotic, but actually, it is surprisingly irritating and liable to induce feelings of worthlessness.
I call this one "Fire Tornado hits Uccle".
(it is an expression of my not-so-suppressed desire that a fire tornado indeed hit Uccle. Fire tornadoes are dominating my thoughts since B sent me this link with a suggestion we try and start one in the Parc Royale with my office fan and a large box of matches).
4. It looks very peculiar with the root on, look:
5. If you have lived in Belgium for long enough, you find yourself just buying them, automatically, regardless of whether you like, or eat them. I think the purchase of chicory forms part of the fiscal regime of the Belgian state. I like to think that my witloof tax is contributing to vital Belgian activities like, oh, I don't know, those public information campaigns explaining to the general public why trams are likely to kill them, or the music in the metro.
(Enough chicory facts - Ed).
*Not facts at all