Are We Facing an Escalation of Vegetable Addiction?


When I was out with the crew from Last Exit to Reality at a Central London restaurant earlier this month, I noticed a diner sitting nearby that was hunched over his table. It looked suspiciously like the guy was racking up lines of something and snorting them with his dinner companion. Despite the fact that they were trying to be discreet, the woman with him all but gave it away when she threw her hair back as she raised her head and proceeded to rub under her nose. That tell-tale sign of just having finished a line. As an investigative reporter, I simply had to look closer, and upon further inspection I could see the remnants of some powder on her upper lip. Sure enough, it was…..green. What? What the hell? What was this mysterious green powder they were snorting?

In the interest of science, truth and the pursuit of all things interesting, I inched my chair slowly over to the couples’ table. “Excuse me” I said in my best ‘I am not a cop and I am not wearing a wire’ voice that I could muster, “but I couldn’t help but notice you two snorting lines of green powder.”

“Ahh, yes” said the guy, somewhat excited with his  pupils all dilated. “It’s asparagus powder, £50 a gram, want a line?”
I had to ask him again, this time utilizing my well honed ability to read lips, and the answer was no different. I thought “why the hell not”, I have done worse and these two were clearly enjoying themselves. I didn’t think for a second about the long downward spiral that might lie ahead. After a couple of lines of the stuff, not much had happened. But I wanted more already. After all, I do like asparagus. But this is like, the pure stuff…concentrated. The guy didn’t want to share anymore. I could see his stock dwindling and could see they were already getting restless. I briefly considered waiting outside in a dark alleyway until they left and then jumping them for their stash. Lucky for all of us, he discreetly slipped me a business card that had the name “Molecular Bubble”.

The Bubble group, it turns out, is a catering company that likes to play with food in ways that you could never imagine. They are based in London and do some pretty strange culinary things – why they call themselves bubble, I never asked. (Although the managing director is called Michael… could it be, Michael Bubble?) I went to the backdoor of their office in Southeast London on an overcast windy day and rang the bell. When the guy answered, I was like “pssst…..hey, can I score some Asparagus?”
“£50 quid a gram mate, or an eighth for 150” he said, looking all directions to make sure the coast was clear.
“And by the way mate, we call at A  just for code, is that clear?”
I scored an eighth and headed home, safe with the fact that I knew where to score more, and that it was my little secret.

But now, drug campaigners have condemned snortable asparagus, with Lucy Dawe from Cannabis Skunk Sense branding it as provocative and deeply irresponsible . “Personally, I think it’s very irresponsible. It’s a very dangerous precedent to set” she said recently to the media. “It’s extremely provocative, I can see no reason to turn this into something you can sniff – I’m sure there are lots of other ways they could turn asparagus into something you can eat.” Wait a minute Lucy, isn’t it something you already eat? I like my asparagus pure, thank you, without all that fiber and shit.
As I read her interview, my heart sank, I felt the feeling of my life spinning out of control. “It does risk bringing more people into contact with drugs, a world where there’s nothing but misery waiting for them” she said.

Was my asparagus habit leading down that road? A recent study did conclude that kids who snort sugar when they are young are more likely to end moving on to salt in later life. And I DID know people who had experimented with cumin and curry powder, but they seemed like they had pretty normal lives.

So I sat back, had a couple of lines of asparagus and thought it through. I would be fine, I could stop anytime I wanted to, I just didn’t want to right now. I had my chocolate addiction under control, and I could control this too. Anyway, this journalism thing is much more addictive.  Finding the hard-hitting stories, getting right to the truth and reporting what you want to hear. Now that is something that is addictive. Dan Rather, a famous US journalist once said “Be careful. Journalism is more addictive than crack cocaine. Your life can get out of balance.” I wonder what Lucy has to say about that.

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