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
Eugene Chaplin Introduces Chaplin's World Museum
in Vevey, Switzerland
Lake Geneva/ Matterhorn Region and Switzerland Tourism
recently blew into Los Angeles with the most esteemed guest, Eugene Chaplin.
A man of remarkable lineage, he is the fifth child of Oona O'Neill and Sir
Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, the grandson of playwright
Eugene O'Neill, the brother of Geraldine Chaplin and father of actress/model
Treasures of Ireland: The Burren (Dispatch
The Palladian Traveler ventures back to the days
of fearless Celtic warriors to search for some "stones to take you
home" as he files his latest dispatch from the monochromatic moonscape
known as The Burren.
Provence: As Much a Mood, a Spirit as a Destination
"On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" goes
the song. Robert Goulet sang it and Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis,
too, and it surely comes to mind when you stand on a bluff in the Luberon
of Provence and stare across at the little hill village of Gordes. The view
is the best part; the village's interior itself is not dramatic and stands
as a warning of what contemporary popularity can do to the simple homes
of 12th century working people.
Paradise on Earth: The Romance of
Tahiti and Her Islands
The first thing you notice is the fragrance. The intoxicating
perfume of the tiare flower announces to your senses that you are in a magical
place, overflowing with tropical vegetation and soothing trade winds. It
is the same fragrance that the English seamen on the HMS Bounty also first
encountered; but they came, not for flowers, but for breadfruit, intended
as a new food staple for their slaves in the West Indies.