Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Wales leeks

No, it doesn't have a hole in it, leeks are a vegetable. But what influence does a name have? My friend named her son Rusty before she knew he didn't have sweat glands. If she'd named him oil like they say it in the south, Earl, would his sweat glands have worked?

At Mold we drove to a rural B&B through a mass of thickets on a narrow, old road worn to a ditch five feet below the cleared fields. I don't know why they don't clear the road, Papa could help with his little Ford tractor.

In the Jones's huge farm kitchen we learned about leeks and fresh eggs on their counter. "If the eggs have never been refrigerated, we don't refrigerate them."

Over tea, our gracious hosts explained the high esteem for leeks. "It's our National Emblem along with the daffodil. Worn on the soldiers caps going into battle, it distinguished them from their foes, and they won. On St. David's Day leeks are worn and eaten raw. From the onion family, the white of the leek is the result of 'mounding' the soil around it which requires thorough washing before using. The small ones are the most tender."

The French call leeks "poor man's asparagus." In Mireille Guiliano's French Women Don't Get Fat, she shares a recipe for leek soup to shed pounds when their bodies can't pass the zipper test. And they have a piece of dark chocolate every day - my kind of menu.

Now that I've tried them, I like leeks raw and in place of onions, and I'm not even Welsh. In Suzanne Somers Fast & Easy she uses leeks with chicken for a stew with cream cheese - satisfying on a cold day.

Now remember, if you're asked a trivia question about a leek, if it's spelled "leak," it's a hole in something. If it's spelled "leek," it's the vegetable held in high regard by the Welsh.

copyright 2005 Red Convertible Travel Series

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