Mum’s packed lunch left rather a lot to be desired. On the journey down to my folks’ place in the south of France, she served up a picnic of browning iceberg, bendy carrots and hard-boiled eggs with yolks the colour of pumice (“I forgot they were doing, so I boiled them for 35 minutes”). We arrived at the house just in time for a quick trip to the local Intermarché and I was ready to pounce on anything that might satisfy my desperate palate.

Look at this! Mum didn’t take much persuading. Her side of the family is up there with Peter Rabbit when it comes to radish love and this one was enormous. And BLACK. I think these things must be unfamiliar to the French consumer too because each had a big orange label with cooking instructions: eat raw or fry with garlic and parsley. We chose the latter and picked up a great big sausage and some endive to go with it.

Alas, the lovely dark skin had to be peeled off, but underneath was crisp, white goodness that tasted … exactly like radishes. I had expected the pepper rule to apply here (small = dead pokey; large = hardly hot at all) but not so! This chap had a good, mustardy noseburn. We chomped on a couple of slices and put the rest in the pan.

Cooking turned the radish into something completely different. All its strength disappeared and it took on a taste and texture not unlike that of a Jerusalem artichoke. The big wimp needed an awful lot of garlic and salt, but was a decent plate filler. Next time I’ll keep it raw and maybe grate it, or put some chunks in tupperware to accompany whatever delicacy my mother has prepared for the way home.