The poodles I ate for dinner were delicious.
Dog-lovers (my tribe again) will be horrified but it’s not what they fear.
It’s just that it’s impossible not to name sweet potato noodles anything but ‘poodles’. Purists might say that they should rightly be called ‘spoodles’ but you’ve got to admit ‘poodles’ is more in line with the ‘zoodles’ (zucchini noodles) that have taken North America and Britain by storm. In Britain, they’re called ‘courgetti’ (courgette spaghetti) and though that’s apt, it’s just lucky chance that the courgette’s name lends itself so well to the spaghetti-like strands churned out by the spiralizer. (Beetrootti, for instance, just doesn’t have quite the same ring.)
And ‘poodles’ is in line with a multitude of possible veggie pasta names: ‘boodles’ for beetroot noodles; ‘coodles’ for celeriac; ‘goodles’ for white gourd; ‘oodles’ for onions. In fact, ‘voodles’ must be the generic name for veggie noodles.
Having just bought a spiralizer (a Paderno, if you want to know) I can affirm that even a confirmed veggie-lover like me is having a more joyous meatless blast.
For the uninitiated, the spiralizer is a machine that turns fresh veggies into, well, spirals. Bon Appetit describes them as faux-noodles and that’s a good enough description as any, because the shape and cut of the vegetable goes a long way towards helping the eye tell the brain that it’s pasta while the mouth conveys the same information with every forkful of sauce-soused voodle.
Bon Appetit goes on to this word picture of the machine: “Most models are about the size of a large toaster and function like a giant pencil sharpener.”
All of this is true. For roughly $40 (slightly more here in the UAE, 170 Dh from www.raw-bites.ae, thank you Juman at The National for telling me) there’s this relatively simple contraption that allows you to spiralize pretty much any firm vegetable. Some do rather better than others. Courgettes/zucchini; beetroot; sweet potato. Carrots are good too, but you need fairly fat ones. Onions are excellent, especially for baked onion rings, but it’s best to use the blade that churns out slightly thicker strands.
For those who’re wondering, the spiralizer has become the kitchen tool of choice in many parts of the world for at least six months. Everyone, not just the carb-averse, is in on the act. Restaurant chefs are raving, Williams-Sonoma (among other retailers) stocks them in the United States and in Britain, the fashionably faddie-foodie Hemsley sisters have created their own spiralizer (£29.95 at Selfridges).
As the Evening Standard wrote, spiralizing has got to become a recognizable, acceptable verb soon enough.
And tomorrow’s noun? ‘Poodles’, zoodles, just the ‘voodle’ really.