[Loch-Ruadh] Word of the Day, March 1, 2002

Cait O'Hara lady_cait at lycos.com
Fri Mar 1 09:18:32 PST 2002


A pie made of [herring-like] pilchards and leeks, the heads of the pilchards appearing throughout the crust as if they were studying the sky.
-- James Halliwell’s Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, 1855

Fest Day of St. David, the patron saint of Wales.  He cleverly employed leeks to defeat the fifth-century Saxons by fastening these members of the onion family to his warriors’ hats to distinguish them from their enemies in hand-to-hand combat.  Heroics aside, William Turner’s Herbal (1568) cautioned would-be consumers of the leek’s dark side:  “The leek breedeth wind and evil juice, and maketh heavy dreams; it stirreth a man to make water and is good for the belly.  But if you would boil a leek in two waters, and afterwards steep it in cold water, it will be less windy than before.”  More recently, “to eat the leek” indicated the embarrassed retraction of a statement, much like “eating crow,” and was used in this regard in Shakespeare’s Henry V.

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