Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Letter G: The Choose Your Poison #AtoZChallenge

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/97/Skibbereen_by_James_Mahony%2C_1847.JPG

     The living slept with the dead, and the half-dead roamed on the landscape, dressed in rags and with some green about the mouth from the grass they plucked to eat.  So calloused were the men who collected bodies that they sat on the coffins enjoying a smoke between them.  There were those who walked miles, morning and eve, with barely a mouthful of bread; and men who dropped dead on the job like the ancient cart horses in their traces.
     Lovely, floury white potatoes were what they had lived on;  and when those began to rot in the ground, the people began to die.
     Most shared what little they had, all of them starving in dribs and drabs together.  But there were some who hoarded in secret, and "played the poor mouth" whilst gobbling up their stores in the darkness.  Bloody greedy bogtrotters he called them.  There were families where the Da had gotten work in England and sent a mite home for the family.  He could smell roasting meat on the wind sometimes, trickling from those few chimneys, and his mouth would fairly drip.
     A family like that there was, and the boys were plump and healthy and turned up their noses at the raggedy troops from the shanties. Till they began to retch and run to the privy by turns, the oldest falling down in a foaming fit right in the middle of the street.  Like mad dogs, they were.  Twas the doctor who found the sack of green potatoes, fleshy but sprouted, stowed away in a corner cupboard.  Had they offered to share, they might have been told by Maggie or even Mean Old Bridey that you don't eat green potatoes on account of them being poison.
     Better to die softly and honestly of the hunger, then.
     This was one of the stories my grandfather told me, peace be upon his soul, of the Great Famine in the old country. 

Today's bit of fiction features Green Potato Poisoning.  Never eat potatoes that are spoiled or have green skin. Never eat the sprouts (you can remove those and safely eat the potato if the skin is not green). The nerve toxin solanine is produced in the green part of the potato (leaves, stem, sprouts, green parts of skin) and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, hallucinations, circulatory collapse and even death.

22 comments:

  1. Love this! The picture, the story... so good.

    2015 A to Z Challenge Co-Host
    Matthew MacNish from The QQQE

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Matt! Happy A to Z ing!

      Delete
  2. Entertaining, informative, and comes with a fantastic image. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Tamara! The picture (print) is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

      Delete
  3. Entertaining, informative, and comes with a fantastic image. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow, I didn't know green potatoes were poisonous! Thanks for the heads up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't know that they were poisonous either. But when I was in college I worked in a potato chip factory (not as much fun as it might seem). One of my jobs was picking out any chips which had green on them before they went onto the bagging conveyor.

      Delete
  5. Informative and entertaining. What more could I ask? Nice one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Keith! You could ask for a joke or your horoscope, I suppose. ;)

      Delete
  6. Yikes, that's serious. I'd always been told not to eat the sprouts or the green parts, but I never knew why.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This has been a public service announcement... ;)

      Delete
  7. Yikes, I knew green potatoes weren't good for you, but I didn't realize they were that dangerous.
    Brandy from Brandy's Bustlings

    ReplyDelete
  8. Awesome story and picture! I was told never eat green skin potatoes although I never knew why. Then I saw your reply above and it is safe if they are peeled? Great to read your writings. You know I am such a big fan. So sorry to have missed the A-Z Challenge again. Hopefully next year I will be able. Hugs my friend! Robin

    ReplyDelete
  9. Replies
    1. The Great Potato Famine was a horrible chapter in history.

      Delete
  10. Such a sad and difficult time for a land that relied on potatoes..... I was always taught to cut out the green, but if it was right into the potato just throw it away. As always Lisa an interesting post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just throw them away too. Better safe than sorry.

      Delete
  11. Raw potatoes are bad for pets too. Even if they aren't green.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow wow so glad I read this how interesting and blooming useful!

    ReplyDelete