Amy Stewart sent her new book to me a while
back. Halloween is upon us. What better book to read for a chill
Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln's Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities
Chef Linda visited today. I showed her the attractive little
book, Wicked Plants, which holds some of the deep, dark secrets of
poisons in our everyday world. As
she thumbed through the book, Linda stopped to read about elderberries (both
her mother and mine made elderberry jelly) and then again about red kidney
beans. (If you make chili in a crock-pot,
you might want to read this entry.)
Forget about those things that go bump in the
night. Amy Stewart reminds us of
the malicious evil masquerading as beauty in our gardens, in our homes, in our
kitchens, and sometimes even in our medicine cabinets. I was surprised to learn who the drug
company was that first introduced Heroin as a cough syrup in 1898.
In the pages of her book, Stewart tells of
unpleasant consequences if we fail to know what is lurking inside those fuzzy
leaves or succulent looking berries or even in some of the most beautiful garden
These botanical evildoers are real although some
are only mildly unpleasant and others need to meet a person susceptible to
their particular poison. Some of
us are immune to the less harmful side effects, like skin reactions; others of
us break out just getting a little too close to a hairy or sappy plant.
Some plants are so toxic that they shouldnŐt be
grown where children might touch them, let alone sample their leaves or
fruits. Grownups should know not
to taste anything without being acquainted with the plant. This little book will introduce you to the
It isn't necessary to go into the garden to find
misfortune. Houseplants are some
of the nastiest vegetation we can meet.
You needn't be a gardener to appreciate the
information. Chefs and everyday
cooks will learn a thing or three from the "Dinner" pages. There is even an intoxicating section
for those who like to imbibe, called "The Devil's Bartender".
Be respectful of the natural world. Just remember, do not expect a bogeyman
inside every pretty flower. Some
of them are just pretty - but they are not in this book. This book is a great gift for
gardeners, cooks, trivia pursuers, history enthusiasts, and anyone with a "need
Find it on Amazon.com.
Amy StewartŐs website: http://www.amystewart.com/wickedplants.html
October 30, 2009---