Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Polk Salad Nancy

This city girl would like to imagine I have an Inner Thoreau; but the truth is, I'm just plain cheap, and I love greens. So when I noticed a polk plant (at least it looked like polk to me) growing in the gully on the other side of the fence, I had no choice but to put it on the menu for dinner.

Confident in my botanic expertise, I pointed to the leaves, and asked The Husband if he had any idea how to reach them. My thought was to use that Grabber Thing that gets the light bulbs out of those vaulted-ceiling fixtures. His idea was to scale the fence, shimmy down the gully and manhandle the polk. I deferred to him, of course. And fetched the Bactine for his skinned knees.

Now, there is just one problem with eating polk. It is poisonous. (The other problem, was that I didn't have any real proof that it was, in fact, polk. No botanist, no avant garde chef, no pistol-totin' granny. Just a few Internet pics...but I chose not to dwell in the negative.) So it has to be carefully prepared to remove the toxins.. The Official Recipe is:

Wash, boil, rinse, reboil, rinse, reboil, rinse, drain, throw into pan with bacon grease and eggs, scramble.

There is just one problem with this recipe. Bacon grease is disgusting. And the other problem is that The Husband doesn't like eggs for dinner, unless they are deviled eggs at a cookout.

I made up my own recipe:
wash, boil, rinse, reboil, rinse, reboil with a veggie bullion cube, drain, throw in a pan with some olive oil, vinegar and pepper flakes, heat through.

And I really, really hoped that the bacon grease and the eggs weren't necessary to counteract toxins.

Sampled, tasty, waited, didn't die. Put the greens in a bowl, put the bowl on the table. The Husband looked wary. Served himself some potato gratin. Reached for the spoon in the polk. Or whatever it was. Asked, "Am I going to die?" I assured him that it had been at least 15 minutes since my sample, and I wasn't dead. He tasted. Liked. Served himself some more.

My friend, Rachel, who really DOES have an Inner Thoreau, makes her own sauerkraut, and gave me the Official Polk Salad Recipe (with two caveats; she said it "smells" and "it tastes like yuck", but she is wrong), had warned me not to eat too much because it can cause diarrhea. Which is somewhat better than death, but I practiced serious portion control anyway. There was a tiny bit left...the dogs loved it.

This morning I woke up early. Dogs woke up, too. That made three of us who didn't die. No evidence of diarrhea anywhere. I was feeling pretty proud of myself, living off the land, saving the $1.99 for that bag of collards. Wondering how to cultivate polk in a more convenient place. Then I realized, The Husband didn't wake up at 4:30 as usual. He didn't wake at 5:00. By 6:00, I had to face the possibilities. He overslept? He never oversleeps. He was taking the day off? Surely he would have mentioned it. OMG, he died. Of polk poisoning. OMG, I'm a murderer. No, I'm sure it would be reduced to involuntary manslaughter...can't prove intent...oh, I hear the shower! I'm freeeeee!!!!!

And making the grocery list for dinner. What is that Japanese blowfish? The one that you have to fillet so carefully, because its organs are toxic?

1 comment:

jdavissquared said...

Can't say I've ever had polk...looks like you put it to use though!

found you on etsy forums, i hope you'll come visit me too!