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Old 07-19-2005, 10:03 PM   #11
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Old 07-19-2005, 10:58 PM   #12
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thanks claire. very interesting, anthropolgically speaking.

and thanks commisary queen. taste and tonic are good enough reasons, kinda what i expected...

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Old 07-19-2005, 11:23 PM   #13
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As a Kid in Missouri we ate Polkweed too; but only in the early spring.

When the stalk starts turning red that signals the build up of oxalic acid which can cause you to be very dead.

We mostly ate it steamed with a vinaigrette. I remember liking it.
May you eat well,
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Old 07-20-2005, 12:47 AM   #14
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Well, buckytom - in the South polk salad is comfort food, call it soul food if you will ... something handed down from our grandparents .... something that we no longer have to eat but eat in celebratation or rememberance of days done by. And, besides, it's mighty tasty! That's why we "risk our lives" to eat it.
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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Old 07-20-2005, 03:45 AM   #15
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I have never seen this in Europe...is this only grows in the US?
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Old 07-20-2005, 08:24 AM   #16
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We used to eat polk salad as a kid. I do not remember any rules about the leaves and the size. We would gather leaves from plants with and without berries. A polk plant creates purplish blue berries that are excellent for pissing off a brother or two when squeezed and thrown. We would also make a tea out of sumack (sp?). This plant acts like poison ivy to some people but the berries make a bitter tea.

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Old 07-20-2005, 08:54 AM   #17
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Before the era of supermarkets, people went all winter without fresh greens. My Grandma White used to pick a variety of wild spring greens...polk, purslane, dandylion, and lambsquarters to name a few. They were, indeed, a spring "tonic" as they sent one to the outhouse pretty fast.
I was always taught that the berries were poisonous, but we made some great "ink" out of them as children.
The older people around here still have to have a mess of fresh polk in the spring.
We get by with a little help from our friends
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Old 07-20-2005, 11:09 PM   #18
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thanks robt, michael in phtwpth (sorry, had a pokeberry seed ), bknox, daisy, and constance. now we're getting somewhere. it must be a hearty plant, i'm guessing that can handle frosts, has a long season to fruit, and grows in poor conditions, given what you all have said.
from a survival standpoint, you eat what providence has left for you. eventually, it becomes a sociologic curiosity, and a tie to our past.
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Old 07-23-2005, 07:00 AM   #19
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Thanks, Constance, for bringing up that point. People still assume that everyone can get everything, every time of the year. Then there are the TV talking head idiots who say "only eat fresh, local, in season." Duh. When we could all eat ONLY fresh, ONLY local, and ONLY in season, nutrition went down the hill, and diseases abounded. Even when I was a kid, in many places I lived, fish and seafood was a stinky, thawed, nasty tasting stuff I had to eat on Fridays during lent. In winter we had apples and oranges, period (and you don't have to get much older than me to remember when it was only apples). Vegetables in the winter meant carrots and potatoes and whatever you could get out of a can. A salad was iceberg and cucumbers and sorry grocery store tomatoes. Mom still fed us nutritiously, and in the summer we had it all, but most folk like to think about the good ol' days who weren't there. My mom was an excellent cook who made the most of what we had when we had it, and we lived over much of the country and in Europe. But the reason people learned to use what was locally available was sometimes because they couldn't get anything else. I've never had Polk Salad (I've read it spelled all of the above, most often Poke Salat), but plan on asking an Appalachian friend tomorrow.
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Old 07-23-2005, 07:50 AM   #20
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I suppose I'm like one of those 'talking heads' you mention. I advocate, where possible, eating meats/vegs/fruits in season. That doesn't mean I turn my nose up at Dutch or Canary tomatoes in our winter. But what it does mean is I CHOOSE the vegetables, meats etc available locally at the proper season - in preference to imported or frozen foods.

For instance, Welsh or Scots spring lamb is vastly superior to chilled lamb brought all the way from, say, New Zealand. I do not buy frozen meat of any kind, or fish.

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