The plant was originally called Claytonia perfoliata,
and is still known in England and Europe under this botanical designation.
Elsewhere it is known as Montia perfoliata, named for Giuseppe
Monti, a professor of botany at the University of Cologne in the eighteenth
The genus Claytonia is named for John Clayton
(1694-1773), Clerk to the County Court of Gloucester County, Virginia,
USA from 1720 until his death, one of the earliest collectors of plant
specimens in that state, and described as the greatest American botanist
of his day.
John Clayton conscientiously and systematically took
samples of everything he encountered, and sent them to Mark Catesby
at Oxford, who in turn sent them to Gronovius in Leiden, Holland.
The vegetable received considerable attention during
the days of the California gold rush, when it served as a cheap and
readily available source of greens for the miners. Unfortunately, this
name carried with it the implication of a rough-and-ready emergency
food, not an elegant green for proper Victorian tables. This may have
helped prejudice many Americans against it in the nineteenth century,
especially since it was a common weed. Happily, it has recently
undergone a revival of interest as part of a general shift toward exploring
The Miners were not the only ones who appreciated miners
lettuce. The American Indians not only ate it raw and cooked; they also
made a tea from the plant, hence its other name: Indian lettuce.
In England it is occasionally known as Springbeauty,
while the Irish name is Plúirín earraigh.
The common names of 'Winter Purslane' and 'Miners Lettuce'
are misleading: it is neither a lettuce nor a purslane, although both
are members of the portulaca family, which are known for their juicy,
to Share? Do you have any favorite recipes that
picked up in one of your travels?
Can you share them with us? Click here and
Haven't been called Tad for . . .gee, maybe I've NEVER been
called Tad . . . guess I'm the only one with chutzpah enough to mention Bourdain.
--- Ken, Shutesbury, MA
I think we must have had an entirely different experience in
the UK. (Fresh Food and Real Ale week 1). We were up in Edinburgh and
they served something called Neeps & Tatties. The items were
boiled so long that I couldnt even recognize what I was eating. Come to
think of it I couldnt taste them either. Later I found that Neeps
are Turnips and Tatties are potatoes.
--- Lindy, Phoenix, AZ
My mouth was watering as I read some of your descriptions of
the fantastic fare of ... England? I had always felt smug about the lowly reputation
of British cuisine as this gave us at least one country with a worse culinary
reputation than America's. I guess I'll have to change my views. Your article
made me actually want to take a CULINARY tour of Britain. Yummy yummy yummy.
--- Sandy Miner, Portland, OR
Thanks for your note. Thanks to Traveling
Boy I get to interview a world famous chef this week who is widely recognized
as spearheading the Yummy movement in Ireland. Guess I'll have to take yet another
culinary tour a little further north and check it out... (I love my job!) ---
Very interesting, mouth-watering piece by Audrey! (A McDreamy McMeel). Your
web site is fascinating!
--- Susie, Victoria, BC
Combining travel, food, and intelligent advice -- BRILLIANT!
Your site fills a long-felt need for hungry roamers. Keep it up! It's Anthony
Bourdain with reservations and CLASS.
--- Tad, Boston, MA
Journey to the Bottom of the Globe: Exploring the
White Continent of Antarctica
As a travel journalist I am constantly asked what are
some of my favorite travel experiences. The list is endless. But there is
one destination that seems to raise the most eyebrows. That destination
is a cruise to Antarctica. Sadly, that cruise line I was on is no more,
but today there is a plethora of cruise lines that offer similar packages.
Here's a look back at my Antarctica cruise.
Treasures of Ireland: Food, Fun and Falconry at
Ashford Castle (Dispatch #18)
The Palladian Traveler soars above the crowd with
a gal named Lima, cruises across a lake dotted with hundreds of islands,
and feasts like a king in a regal dining room.
Lake Charles Family-Size Low-Key Mardi Gras
The Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras in Lake Charles,
the second largest in Louisiana, does not need parents there to avert their
childrens eyes. This is family entertainment and children are very
much part of it. The main office of the Lake Charles CVB has costumes from
last years Mardi Gras but it also has figures to fascinate little
ones from country boys fishing for their dinner to alligators who have already
fed and are rubbing their stomachs.
Highway 49 Revisited: Exploring California's
In the 1840s, the population of California was only
14,000, but by 1850 more than 100,000 settlers and adventurers had arrived
from all over the world and they came for one reason: gold. James
Marshall had discovered the first gold nugget at Sutters Mill in El
Dorado County, creating the largest gold rush in history.