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Saturday, 26 December 2015


The leek belongs to the genus Allium, which is the same genus as the onion and garlic.

The edible part of the leek plant is a bundle of leaf sheaths that is sometimes erroneously called a stem or stalk.

The leek was a part of the Ancient Egyptian diet from at least the second millennium BC onwards. It was also grown in Mesopotamia starting from around the same time.

Leeks are mentioned once in the Bible. Numbers 11:5 says: "We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost--also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.

The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates prescribed leeks as a cure for nosebleeds.

The Roman emperor Nero had leek soup served to him every day, as he believed the leek made his speech honeyed and thus gave him a clear and sonorous voice for delivering his orations. Due to his inordinate appetite for leeks some people nicknamed him "Porrophagus" ("porrum" meaning leek in Latin.)

First century AD Roman women used a mixture of boiled walnuts and leeks to make their hair appear dark and shiny.

The leek is one of the national emblems of Wales and is worn along with the daffodil on St. David’s Day.  Leeks were worshipped by the ancient welsh for their supposed medicinal properties and power to keep evil spirits away.

It is said that King Cadwaladr of Gwynedd ordered his soldiers to identify themselves by wearing the vegetable on their helmets in a 640AD battle against the Saxons that took place in a leek field. When the Welsh won, they attributed their success to the leeks they wore to distinguish themselves.

Because of their symbolism in Wales, leeks have come to be used extensively in that country’s cuisine.

The Royal Welsh Fusiliers have a tradition of eating raw leeks on St David’s Day.

The Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne made a law that each of his people should have a leek on their roof to ward off evil spirits.

Sources Daily Express, Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

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