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Turnip greens


The grocery store in Walnut Cove had turnip greens this week for $1.29 a bunch. As Michael Pollan says, eat more leaves. Especially at a good price.

By the way, what you see on the countertop is what we around here would call a mess of greens. When I was in elementary school, a teacher once derided one of the children for saying “a mess of greens.” The teacher said that that was not proper. How sad. It is perfectly proper, but it does mark one’s dialect as Appalachian English. I have previously written about stigmatized dialects.

The Oxford English Dictionary gives an example of this usage from 1503: “You have very good strawberies at your gardayne in Holberne. I require you let us have a messe of them.”

Mess means a portion of food sufficient to make a dish. As I understood the term growing up, it particularly meant a portion of food brought from the garden. I never heard anyone talk about a mess of bacon.

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