Saturday, August 15, 2009

A paean to poke sallet

Poke sallet has a reputation as redneck cuisine, but I think it gets a bum rap. First of all, it's not poke "salad." "Sallet" is a middle English term meaning "a mess of," such as a "sallet of fish."

Tony Jo White did a disservice with his "Poke Salad Annie, the 'gators got your granny" tune. There are poke sallet festivals in several towns in the South. Poke and morels are credited with keeping many people in Appalachia alive during the Depression. Morels bring hundreds of dollars a pound. Poke sallet is too often the butt of jokes.

I would eagerly harvest poke, but I don't have much confidence in my botanical eye. I think the photo here is of a poke plant, but I'm not certain enough to eat it. It looks like a young Chinese sumac plant which can be poisonous.

But I have a grand solution. My Aunt Judy makes a dish we'll call "Faux Poke Sallet."
All you do (that's how Judy begins all her recipes) is:

* Saute a small handful of chopped onions in a skillet with oil.
* Dump in a can of spinach that has been completely drained.
* Crack an egg and stir it in. Stir fry until the egg is cooked.

You have a dish fit for a king.

The dramatic weight loss has come to a screeching halt. I only dropped 1 pound to 198. The first three weeks I lost a total of 25 pounds. It will be slow going the next four weeks, but I only have to lose 8 pounds in the next four weeks to hit my goal of 190.

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