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Re: [Aroid-l] Aroid recipes/edibility




From : 	criswick <criswick@spiceisle.com>
Sent : 	Monday, September 3, 2007 10:54 PM
To : 	"'Julius Boos'" <ju-bo@msn.com>
Subject : 	RE: Spinach

Dear John,

I am pleased to see that the problem you were experiencing w/ Aroid-L seems to have been resolved by Steve Marak, thanks Steve! In a couple of weeks we shall be in Miami surrounded by plant people and plants, Steve and I will ask around and keep a weather eye open for the Philodendron sp., the Nocks and Denis Rotalante come to mind! Concerning the smaller aroid you recall which was eaten as a spinach in Br. Guiana, I have given this some thought. I really don`t believe it could be X. heleborifolium, as this does not grow in any quantity anywhere I have encountered it, and does not have a sagittate leaf blade. A 'suspect' would be X. acutum, which has a sagittate leaf blade, and is about the size of the plant you recall! We saw this aroid growing in quantity around old homes in Fr. Guyana, the young leaves could be collected, much like the leaves of the Colocasias growing around our homes used to be collected and calallo made with them on a Sunday. The leaves of X. acutum might make a good spinach! I will wait and hope that my friend can provide a photo of 'rickwanch' when next he visits Guiana.
Hopefully your friend Dr. Birbalsingh will recall more details.
We shall keep in touch!
Sincerely,
Julius

Dear Julius,
Thank you so much for your prompt reply, and thank you for copying in Ron Weeks. I already corresponded with Steve on this subject and he suggested I contact you. His P. tenue looks nothing like mine. Your description of the fowl-foot bhagi makes me suspect that this could well be the spinach. I am sure that it IS a Xanthosoma and maybe the leaves are pedatisect. I remembered them as sagittate but it's such a long time now. However, the fact that it's called "bhagi" in Trinidad (I am very familiar with the term, also used in Guyana) indicates that it is eaten by at least some people. I have not seen it in Grenada. Rickwanch I have not heard of, but the fact that it needs good cooking also ties in with my description. My friend Dr. Frank Birbalsingh of York University, Toronto, might recall from his childhood days in Better Hope, East Bank Demerara, this vegetable, so I'll ask him.
I look forward to hearing more from you.
  Yours,
 John.

-----Original Message-----
From: Julius Boos [mailto:ju-bo@msn.com]
Sent: Monday, September 03, 2007 4:50 PM
To: criswick@spiceisle.com
Cc: samarak@gizmoworks.com; steve@exoticrainforest.com
Subject: RE: Spinach

From :     criswick <criswick@spiceisle.com>
Sent :      Monday, September 3, 2007 5:42 PM
To : "'Julius Boos'" <ju-bo@msn.com>
Subject :   Spinach

Dear John,
It is good to hear from you!   I do remember you indeed!
You will note that I have copied Steve Marak in on this, as he is the
moderator of aroid-l, and he may be able to assist in getting your lack of mail into and out of aroid-L sorted out and corrected. I am also copying my GOOD friend Ron Weeks in Miami, as he was very familiar with the plants at Monroe`s place and just might have a lead on the Philodendron you seek, also Steve Lucas who may have info. on this W. Colombian species of Philodendron. I`m afraid that I do not know it, as I am mainly interested in the group known as the Meconostigmas, the self-heading Philodendrons. I`m afrid that in Trinidad, as far as I know, we do not grow the aroid you mention, known as spinach in Guiana. I will, however ask around, as I have Guianese friends here in WPB, Florida, and one travels frequently to Guiana on Buisness. I recall Eduardo telling me that in Brazil they have some fasinating-sounding edible aroids, and this one sounds familiar. There they also cut the entire 'heads' of ALL the leaves off a var. of Xanthosoma, and cook the whole bunch, old and new, as a kind of calaloo! We do not eat Xanthosoma leaves on Trinidad! There are some questions regarding the edibility of some aroids found on T`dad, for example Xanthosoma helleborifolium, called ''fowl-foot badjhii" (badjhii is an Indian/hindii word meaning spinach) because of its divided, pedatisect leaves resembling a chicken`s foot (this probably occurs on Grenana too), and Xanthosoma brazilense, called 'caribbean chou' or cabbage/spinach', both are not eaten as far as I know on T`dad, and I don`t know why. I did confirm that the leaves and blooms of Caladium bicolor are still used as a spinach in some areas and are called 'cachoo'. I just spoke w/ my Guianese friends, she recalls an aroid, different from 'sahena' (Dasheen/Colocasia) which they called 'Rickwanch' which they made a spinach with, it had to be cooked very well to avoid the itching. Her husband may be travelling to Guiana next, week and will try to photograph it for me, and MAYBE bring up a small corm, though the security has become so tight when flying it makes this difficult.
Hopefully this note to Steve and Ron may bear results!
Please stay in touch!
Sincerely Yours,
Julius



Dear Julius,
         I often read your contributions to Aroid-L, but for some
mystifying reason, when I try to contribute myself, nothing comes through.
Perhaps you may remember meeting me a couple of times at Monroe Birdsey?s place. I live in Grenada and brought things for him and we used to exchange. One of the things I brought repeatedly for him, because he was always losing it, was a philodendron I collected on Colombia?s Pacific coast which Tom Croat provisionally identified as P. tenue. Nowadays, however, he is not so sure. It had amazingly long hastate leaves in relation to their width, thick and leathery. The ratio was similar to that of the leaves of P. spiritus-sancti. Now Ivan has killed my own plant (it was a slow grower) and I don?t know if anyone inherited Monroe?s, if he had any at the time of his death. Do you happen to know? Anyway, my reason for writing is that in Guyana we used to eat an aroid called ?spinach?. It was smallish, with dark green sagittate leaves about 6 inches long and was cultivated on dry ground as far as I know, and had a very delicious flavour. As I remember it, thorough cooking was necessary to avoid it ?scratching? your mouth. It was regularly sold in the market. I have seen it in Barbados, but attempts to grow it in Grenada have not been successful. Do you recognize this plant from my description, and is it grown in Trinidad?
         I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

John Criswick.


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