On the subject of leeks, last night I ate the first one I've ever cultivated myself. It was delicious. I intend to slowly work my way through its contemporaries, savouring them individually like the final pages of a good book.
I now see why the Welsh chose the leek as their national emblem, they need no tending (meaning mine didn't receive any) and are very graceful. What nation wouldn't want to be associated with independence and beauty? I would recommend them to any horticultural ignoramus like me who wants to experiment with a vegetable patch. They're impervious to frost, in fact seem to thrive on any element that is thrown at them. A friend gave me a bundle of tiny specimens to plant last summer, they looked far too weedy to make it to adulthood and I was certain that the squadrons, battalions and armies of slugs that eat virtually everything else in my potager would polish them off in no time. But no! They clearly possess some kind of chemical slug-deterrent; maybe that's what makes them so tasty.
Leeks also remind me of a verbal exchange I witnessed many years ago in a 'comprehensive' school that I attended. It was March 1st, St David's day, St David being the patron saint of Wales. During morning assembly the headmaster mentioned the significance of the day and asked the serried ranks of uninterested pupils what was the vegetable that symbolised Wales. A few hands went up (mine wasn't amongst them – too busy considering the possibilities. Artichoke? Yam? Peanut?) including, pregnant with portent, that of Andrew Leek to which the headmaster readily responded, thereby allowing Leek to declare with an airy confidence, “The daffodil, sir!”