There is a rose hip bush in my workplace. Its dangling with fat pink hued globe shaped bulbs, almost like Christmas baubles teasing me to be picked now, and indeed I was tempted. Yesterday, I picked one that went straight to mush in between my fingers, others were already off brown in colour and shrivelled. Many of the foraging and gardening books I’ve read say to wait after the first frost, when they are ripe and soft. This one was too soft. I hope I have not left them too late.
On picking another rose hip that was much firmer, a passing worker gave me that strange look as if to say what you doing wierdo. I’ve decided, I am not going to pick these rose hips during working hours. Couple of reasons: first one, I remembered this experience from my childhood that left a mark on my psyche; and secondly, being the only visible minority ethnic, female employee in position I stand out. The last thing I want to do is draw further attention that would negate to a racial stereotype in some people minds. You may wonder what on earth am I on about? So to give you an insight into some 'seasonal stereotypes' let me share with you some that have become popularised by the media in recent times. Let us start with the seasonal holidays, when the tabloids will start covering stories around missing koi carp from some of the lakes, rivers and fisheries. The ‘perception’ that is perpetuated is that the Polish migrant workers are taking them to feast on. Another seasonal stereotype shrouds stories of the missing mushrooms. During the autumnal season when wild mushrooms are hard to find, those greedy immigrants are blamed, in this case, the French and the Italian are blamed; and one of the worst was the rumour that Eastern Europeans were eating the Queens’ white Swans – complete and utter nonsense.
Similar kind of stereotypes used to be perpetuated at some level in my workplace too (and maybe yours too), but things have positively changed. Those that used to accuse the Chinese or South Asian employees for stinking out the staff kitchen (when they were re-heating their rice and curry dishes) were told to self-reflect on the smells of their own foodstuffs. Such as the smell created on heating smoked haddock under the toaster; and then there is the frying of pig flesh aka bacon, not a pleasant smell to my nose, but I am not going to denigrate people because of this.
The smell of food has a tendency to either 'excite' ones senses or be a ‘put off’. We are all different, this is a fact we should all accept.
Anyway all this is way of saying, I didn’t want to start of another racial stereotype that the South Asian women were raiding all the lovely rose hips and there was nothing left for the birds when the winter came. Oh no how could I?! Instead I’m hoping to go in early in the hours and pick them when its relatively quite, when there are not too many peering eyes. I have grand designs. I want to make rose hip jelly, rose hip syrup and rose hip jam, and if I’m not getting too greedy (and have enough), maybe even some rose hip schnapps.