Sunday, October 5, 2014
Just Making Sure
"What are these pretty red bushes at the roadside?"
"Oh, no! If I touch it, will I get a rash? Are those berries poisonous?"
"You're thinking of poison sumac, which grows in swamps and has white berries. You'll probably never see poison sumac in Missouri. But if you're allergic to cashews or mangoes, stay away from all sumac; sumac is related to them."
"Can I eat the berries?"
"Some people make sumac lemonade by steeping the berries, but these berries are dried out. You have to pick sumac berries in the summer to make the lemonade."
"Is it pronounced soo-mac or shoo-mack?"
"Why? There's no 'H'. There aren't any other words in English like that."
"Don't be so sure."*
*Joke credited to Mark Twain.