Chokoes are often seen as emblematic of times gone by, but today they’re turning up all over the place – in the supermarket and local fruit shop, and in their familiar haunt of the rambling back fence.
As rumour has it, the choko is back in vogue.
It’s not everyone who speaks the language of the choko (aka chayote). In fact for some the choko is not number one on the Christmas card list, perhaps due to some former experience of ‘overfamiliarity.’ Or a fear of triffids.
But for others, the choko is something of a legend: an icon of survival, resilience and resourcefulness.
The choko is a rescuer in tough times, defying any odds, a survivor.
In the garden, it will scale any wall, and provides us with sustenance in multiple modes: shoots, leaves and fruit. Faced with an obstacle, it will realign and carry on. It defies boundaries and resists containment. It can form a dense jungle or dance lightly across a wall. It is a chameleon, a shape-changer.
Its chameleon nature is larger than life in the kitchen: it can blend with the crowd in an apple pie, or stand on its own tossed in butter or olive oil and salt. Its taste is subtle, ambiguous. For those who love it in its simplest form, it is obtusely charismatic.
Meanwhile up in the greengrocer’s shop, it can be found hidden under the pumpkins, already starting to shoot tendrils quietly, waiting for a gardener to notice it…