The Killing Fields

12 Jan

One late night I was in the emergency room at Sarasota Memorial Hospital and noticed they had a poster about all sorts of common plants that could be fatal…and in what quantity!  I know it was probably made as a warning, but to me it was a manual on how to kill someone and get away with it.

Pokeweed was on this poster for sure.  It’s as toxic as can be, but for some crazy reason people south of the Mason-Dixon are determined to ignore that.  They’ve discovered over the years that the young leaves can be boiled three times and as long as you discard the water after each time, the toxins are reduced.  Reduced. They then take these thrice boiled leaves and make polk salad.  It must taste amazing to a) bother and b) risk it, no?  Or maybe they just had nothing else to eat.

Still seems weird.

But I’m glad they did because now we have Tony Joe White’s super Muscle Shoals gem, “Polk Salad Annie.”  Download here.   If you ever decide to kill someone using pokeweed, please make sure to sing this song while doing so.


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