The French love their radishes, sold in shops as a botte de radis (bunched together like a bouquet). They feature as a simple amuse-bouche, with salt (radis à la croque au sel) or on a plate of crudités, and are often used to add a colourful garnish to a dish.
The word comes from the Latin for ‘root’ (radix)— as does the word ‘radical’—politics that strike at the ‘root’ of established doctrine. In the south, older people still call them raves.
In France, under the Third Republic, they used to say ‘the radical is like the radish, red outside, white inside.’ Red for the flag of the Labour movement, white symbol of the Royalists. The French Communists said the same thing about the Socialists at the time of World War I.
Both the red and black radis noir are nearly always available, and the white (daikon) one is seen more and more.
Ne pas avoir un radis (to not have a radish) means to be completely broke.
Image by ign