Monday, December 14, 2009

It's Spelled "Potlikker"

Sometimes called collard liquor or green brew, potlikker is the liquid left in the pot after you've boiled greens (collard, turnip, etc). It has lots of good vitamins in it, though it tastes best when a bit of salt and pork is added to it for flavor; you can also crumble in your cracklin' bread.

In 1982 then-Lieutenant Governor of Georgia Zell Miller (he later became Governor and then Senator in turn) wrote a piece for the New York Times explaining the proper spelling of the concoction. With his characteristic enthusiasm and more than one jab at Yankees, he described that it's not "pot liquor," it's "potlikker."

Aside: Miller is also a Democrat on record as criticizing the U.S. Supreme Court because it "removed prayer from our public schools...legalized the barbaric killing of unborn babies, and it is ready to discard like an outdated hula hoop the universal institution of marriage between a man and a woman." Get 'em Zell.

A while back I grabbed lunch from the local farmer's market/whole foods: barbecued pork, mac and cheese, collard greens, and corn bread. I was in high cotton.

A short time later I developed a terrible itching in my eyes; I washed them out, but then the itching spread to my hands and feet, then up my arms and legs; next I started to feel a pain in my chest, and the skin over my entire body turned a bright red. I decided to take an aspirin and lie down -- but I had trouble swallowing the tablets: my throat was swollen.

I knew I was in trouble -- I suspected it was something I'd eaten -- and I got myself over to the ER at the hospital across the street.

When I arrived at the desk to the ER, the receptionist gave me a stack of papers to fill out.

Word to the wise: if you ever need to get yourself quickly admitted to a hospital, just bark out one of these magic words:
(1) Heart attack
(2) Stroke
(3) Shock

The last is what applied to me: I was in anaphylactic shock. I was admitted sans paperwork, got a checkup from the doctor who treated the symptoms, and was told to talk to an allergist.

The allergist confirmed that I had developed a food allergy. After testing the various ingredients of the foods I'd eaten the day I went into shock, he concluded that I was allergic to collard greens. I can never eat them again.

It makes a southern boy weep.


Patti Petersen said...

Egad, Sean...who ever heard of a Southern boy allergic to collard greens?? My deepest sympathy goes out to you, and I am only thankful that you got to the ER in time to avoid kicking the bucket. Y'all better stick to grits and let the greens alone!

Sean said...

Yes, it serves as penance on multiple levels.

Rose Blue said...

THAT, is what is known as a genuine Bummer. My heart goes out to you and I've never even tasted collard greens.