|Polk Salad Omelet LINK TO NEW RECIPE MAY 12, 2016
By Don Henderson 4/10/2012
Updated May 12, 2016 RETURN TO POLK SALAD LINK
WARNING: DO NOT EAT POLK SALAD
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I grew up with an East Texas Spring tradition that I am continuing today in Spring, Texas. Every
spring my Grandfather would gather some fresh Polk Salad leaves and my Grandmother would
cook them. She never had a recipe for anything, not that I would have paid any attention anyway.
All of you young people out there, you should write down those recipes now if you want to
remember them later. Polk was not one of my favorites, but my Grandmother would always insist
that I needed my “spring tonic”. She made it in an iron frying pan and I know she used lard (what
else did we fry with?) and there were eggs in it. Like many other “tonics”, it was best eaten by
choking it down (at least for me). I was never a fan of any “greens”, much less the “wild” variety. A
few years ago a plant came up in our backyard and I recognized it as Polk Salad. I thought I would
try some if I could find how to cook it. Looking on the internet, lo and behold, guess what I found.
Polk is poison!! Really!! Add that to Caster Beans, Coal Oil (Kerosene), turpentine and a lot of
other things my grandparents made me ingest for health remedies!! I learned that the Indians used
Polk and many of our early Texas settlers. Why not, it grows free, but poison???? All of the articles
stated that you needed to par boil it first and I wasn’t even sure what that meant. When you reach a
certain age, you must rely on someone that is still around that would know, but alas, all are gone.
My wife’s side, were city folks, so they “don’t know nothing …”!! Left to my own ingenuity and
bravery, I collected leaves and par boiled them. I placed the leaves in a pan covered with water and
boiled, then poured off the water. I did this three times. …Sounds somewhat similar to some of my
Organic chemistry labs in college. From there it was guess work with the eggs. Well, I tried eating it
and it wasn’t any worse than what I remembered. I lived. Not poisoned. No one else in the family
would even taste it. My son took one look and emphatically said, “ I ain’t eatin any of that crap”!!
OK, I remember those sentiments!! It was several years before I braved this again; but this spring,
up sprouted another Polk in the backyard(see above photo). Maybe I should have allowed my son
to mow it down, but instead I yelled at him (when he volunteered to mow my yard), “Don’t mow that
plant!!” “Why not, that’s just an old weed!!” “That’s Polk Salad!”, I said. “So???” he said. I decided
to pick a few of the smaller leaves and placed them in water and after a few hours I put them in the
refrigerator in a baggie. After several days of contemplation, I finally decided that I wanted to cook
them. It was lunch hour, the day of my tennis match and I thought, “What if I get sick from eating
this”? But, I surged forward, using my own recipe.
Polk Salad on Wikipedia
Link to Wikipedia Polk Salad
WARNING: POLK IS POISON
Well, I thought it was very good; and I did not get sick!! Didn’t win my match ether, but
Polk wasn’t the reason!!
|Don’s Polk Salad Recipe
By Don Henderson