Once upon a time, when my daddy was a boy, he walked all the way into town to see a movie with a friend. But before they could set off for the matinee, his friend had to pick a mess of poke salad for his mother. So the kid grabbed a bag, quickly stuffed it full of dead leaves and then put some poke salad on the top. He left it for his momma to find and they took off down the road heading into town. Sneaky, huh?
I'm not sure what kind of punishment the kid ended up getting--maybe he wasn't allowed to watch Howdy Doody for a week, or worse, maybe he had to give up Dragnet altogether--but I do know he missed out on some yummy greens for dinner.
We're fortunate to have quite a bit of poke growing in the backyard out by our burn pile. It's very poisonous so don't pick it if it's too big--you want to make sure that the leaves are from young shoots, less than 6 inches long, and don't have any red color to them. I've heard that you can peel the stalks and fry them like okra but I'm not brave enough to try it. I'll just stick to the leaves, thank you.
a mess of poke
1 or 2 eggs
salt and pepper
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add poke. Let boil for 10 minutes. Drain. Rinse leaves in a colander and rinse out the cooking pot. Add more water to the pot and bring to second boil. Add poke and boil for another 10 minutes. Drain. Rinse leaves again and squeeze out the excess water like you would with spinach. Add to a skillet with some bacon fat, scramble an egg into the greens, and season with salt and pepper.