IV: Endive

The Belgians invented endives except they didn't?

IV: Endive
Chopped hearts of Belgian endive. Photo by micheile dot com / Unsplash

Good morning. Today is quartidi, the 14th of Brumaire, Year CCXXXI. We celebrate l'endive, our first bitter green of the year.

Endives are a little bitter and a little nutty, which makes them fun at parties. Literally. I've seen advice to use the leaves in place of potato chips for dipping. Each leaf is only one calorie, like a Diet Pepsi.

After Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo and the other European powers decided it was time to definitively end the idea of a European empire ruled from Paris, they did several consequential things, including putting Napoleon on a sandy beach in the middle of the South Atlantic and creating the modern Netherlands in XXIII (1815).

This put a bit of land between France and the rest of Northern Europe, but it also put the famously Protestant Dutch and the stubbornly Catholic Flemish together under one roof. This went badly, and in a lesson nobody remembered when drawing lines around in the Middle East a century later, war broke out just 15 years later. The Flemish in the south revolted, wanting to be neither Netherlands nor France (say that five times fast), and succeeded, giving birth to the independent nation of Belgium and also, weirdly, the endive.