There was once an old, retired couple who, in the autumn of their years enjoyed a simple life. Mr and Mrs Green were very happy in their country cottage, George's passion was his vegetable patch while Martha's was to cook what her beloved husband grew. A perfect situation.
Now George was especially proud of his cauliflowers. For many years he had cultivated and perfected a secret mulch which, when spread around his carefully tilled cauliflower patch, produced the largest, firmest and most tasty cauliflowers in the region. They always had the tightest, crisp, white florets and the greenest leaves.
George's usual plan was to take his cauliflowers to the regional show where they won every cauliflower prize. Then he would bring them home and Martha would cook them. Unsurprisingly, Martha had perfected her cauliflower cheese to match her husbands gardening expertise. She used the freshest ingredients and cheese which she made herself to a recipe that was *her* little secret. Together, they made an immaculate dish, each component perfectly complementing the others, truly it was food fit for the gods. Indeed, their neighbours would never refuse a dinner invitation if George had recently been to a show.
One year in particular, though George didn't know why, his cauliflowers were growing to a stupendous size. Usually they were large, but this year they were huge! George and Martha looked eagerly forward to the day when they would be eaten. Surely they would be the best tasting cauliflowers ever, and their size would keep them in cauliflower cheese for a long, long time.
When they finally ripened to perfection, George picked the massive vegetables and as usual he took them to the show. The judges were amazed! Never had they seen cauliflowers so large and yet so firm and appetising! George won every prize there was! Beaming with pride he returned home to the bosom of his loving wife.
As it was quite late Martha decided to put off her culinary efforts until the next day. She did however, prepare all the other things she would need, this would be a mammoth task! Martha woke early, such was her excitement, and began preparing her cauliflower cheese. Boiling up a small portion of George's vegetable fare until it was just right, not too crisp, not overcooked, the aroma in her small but tidy kitchen was wonderful. While the cauliflower cooked Martha prepared her special sauce.
George had risen by then, and though they were both salivating with desire, they decided to wait until supper time to sample their joint creation, reasoning that the wait would make the triumph all the sweeter. George took himself to the garden, Martha cleaned the kitchen, all day both could think of nothing else.
When supper-time finally arrived Martha had produced a wonderful meal. Boiled new potatoes in a light butter sauce, carrots and peas fresh from the garden, a roast leg of lamb with mint sauce and of course, the *piece de resistance* the cauliflower cheese. George opened an old bottle of wine he had been saving, a good vintage year, Martha lit candles to enhance the mood and they sat down to dine.
With a smile George proffered a forkful of cauliflower cheese to Martha, she reciprocated with a blush. As they remembered their honeymoon, they bit down upon each others forks taking in the wonderful aroma.
The cauliflower was horrible!!!! Even Martha's expertly prepared sauce did nothing to disguise the vileness of the vegetable!! It was so incrediblely revolting that both George and his wife could not even swallow the one mouthful they had been so tenderly offered. Using napkins, with as much grace as the situation allowed, they spat out the disgusting food and rinsed their mouths with wine.
George was devastated, this was supposed to have been so special, and it was inedible. He was moved to tears. Martha tried to comfort him but he was inconsolable, sobbing gently he gazed at Martha.
'Look' he said 'not only can we not eat this, it leaves ridiculous red stains'
Martha looked in the mirror and sure enough, her lips were a deep scarlet, a lovely colour spoiled only by its source.
'Never mind' Martha said, going to kiss George 'I'm sure we can think of something'
'I doubt it' George replied 'it even makes your breath smell bad'
George was not usually this tactless, but his grief was such that he didn't really care. Martha herself had noticed the putrid smell on the breath of her husband, but had restrained herself from comment.
'What are we going to do?' asked George. 'We have so many cauliflowers and they're all so large. We can't just throw them away!'
Now, Martha who was the more thoughtful of the pair, had been been musing and had come up with an idea.
'What about lipstick?'
'Well given the nice colour, couldn't we some how make a lipstick and sell it? Then it wouldn't be such a waste we might even make enough money to take a little holiday.'
'And it would be a new and environmentally friendly process' she added, always concerned about these things.
'Perhaps, perhaps...' said George
So they set about their new project, in Martha's typically organised way. They kitchen became a research laboratory as man and wife laboured night and day. They tried many ways to reduce the cauliflower to its staining components, and many oils and waxes in which to fix it as a base. Many weeks of intensive research and development followed. Countless failures passed them by until finally they had produced the basic lipstick component.
'Unfortunately, its a little bit crumbly' said Martha
'Yes, and it still smells a bit' said George 'maybe we ought to put a warning on the packaging. I'm sure if its used carefully it'll be OK.'
'Good idea' Martha said 'what shall we write?'
George thought for a while, considering all the problems they had had, all the joy and pain they had gone through to make their new product.
'I've got it' he said 'we'll write......
(Wait for it!)
..SUPER-CAULI FRAGILE LIPSTICK, EXPECT HALITOSIS!