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Your honor, he didn't mean to poison readers

Posted by Sheryl Julian  August 5, 2008 11:07 AM

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This jolly-looking fellow is British celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson -- of Notting Grill, Barnes Grill, and Kew Grill -- who loves to forage. In a "Healthy & Organic Living" article recently, Thompson recommends looking around for something called henbane. Only problem is, henbane (literally "killer of hens" in Anglo-Saxon), according to timesonline.co.uk, "can cause hallucinations, convulsions, vomiting, and death." The article continues: "Previous champions of henbane include Dr. Crippen, who used an extract of the plant to poison his wife. In 'Hamlet,' Claudius uses a potion containing the drug to kill the king."

Chef Worrall Thompson issued an apology. "Mr Worrall Thompson, who has insured his tongue for £500,000 to protect his tastebuds, is currently on holiday in Spain," the article continues. "He told The Times yesterday: 'I was thinking of a wild plant with a similar name, not this herb, but of course I’ve ended up killing half the nation instead.' "

Oh well.

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Sheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.

Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.

Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.
 

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