Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Leek. Maligned by Grit, Still Thrives. Leek Bed for Egg.

 The Historical, Edible, Unsung Leek
Slip-sliding into the South and Usurping the Venerable Grits Dish
Migrations of those with grit continue with political consequences

Leeks.  Historic, even Biblical. Leeks enjoyed in Egypt were recalled with longing by wandering Israelites, Numbers 11:5; might have been transported by ancient Phoenicians to Wales, and, once there, inspired maidenly dreams of husbands-to-be, if slept upon (the leeks, that is) on Welsh St. David's Day, were military chapeau ornaments to distinguish Welsh defenders against Saxons in the very old days, see

Grit. It grates.  Without grit, just enough of it (but not too much), tires aquaplane and vehicles spin out of control. True Grit:  a real holding power, vew again the 1969 abd 2010 films of the novel of a girl tracking her father's killer, example  Why does the marshal get the prime cover in that review?  He only did the girl's bidding -- and was paid for it.  The girl is the central one. Misleading the people with cultural pap in the guise of grit.  Like making dumb Hansel the hero as he fattened up, and Gretel was the one who pushed the witch into the oven and freed him.  Grimm revisited.

Grit. Your teeth will find it in every leek. Be forewarned.  Slice the leek lengthwise many times, cross cut as often as you like, and wash; and wash again.  See the sludge.

Grits! How did the grit of the leek morph into the grits of the south?   Magical transformation!  Boil cornmeal, masa or rougher, stir a lot, and you have breakfast -- add butter and salt.  Or, as in Romania, mamaglia.  Polenta. Let it cool in a shape, then slice --  fry up, sizzle to a nice little crust. Add hogs head, do some tricks and you have scrapple, ye of Philadelphia. Bring on the ketchup.

Political leek displaces grits.

Then, use the lowly leek for political reasons.  Displace, or merely add another dish to the Southern Grist fetish.

  • Leeks in the Morning.  Leek bed for egg.

1. Day before: Take your grits, say 2-3 of the tough beauties, greens and whites. Nip off dead dry top 1/4 inch, and bottom rooty part 1/4 inch. Slice longways and across as aforesaid.  Dump into water and swoosh and strain out, twice, until no more sludge (toss the sludgy water in the garden)., Add some salt and a little oil or butter, and sizzle. Enjoy aroma. Set some aside if you like, bright color, for soup garnish.

Add water just to cover, cook down until soft. Strain, put in your blender when cool. Adjust seasoning -- add your own seasoned salt or whatever, and pepper.

2. Breakfast leeks.  Spoon the soft leek puree into a little frying pan.   Sizzle until hot.  Make a hole in the center, add egg, cook until done, turning it if you like, keeping puree separate. Voila, as the Phoenicians would say on their trading ships.  Egg in the hole, like toad in the hole, only different. And delicious. Phoenicians: perhaps Punic is more familiar, see

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