Monday, August 4, 2008

Doofus Of The Day #55


Celebrity chef Anthony Worral Thompson gave an interview to the magazine Healthy & Organic Living. In it, he recommended the use of wild herbs in salads, saying that henbane would make a tasty addition to salads.

Turns out he was badly mistaken.

Celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson has apologised after suggesting people use a poison plant for cooking.

The chef made the mistake when he told of the joys of foraging for wild herbs, saying that henbane would make a tasty addition to salads.

But Healthy and Organic Living's website - who published the interview - were forced to publish an urgent warning about the advice saying: "henbane is a very toxic plant and should never be eaten."

Mr Worrall Thompson, who is currently on holiday in Spain, told reporters he had confused henbane with a plant of a similar name and admitted the mix up was a "bit embarrassing".

He is thought to have confused the poison plant with the weed hen fat, which has edible leaves and can be used in salads or cooked like spinach.

The TV chef said: "I was thinking of a wild plant with a similar name, not this herb.

"It's a bit embarrassing but there has been no reports of any casualties. Please do pass on my apologies."

Henbane is actually a relative of deadly nightshade and its name means "killer of hens". It can cause hallucinations and, in larger quantities, sometimes death.

Previous champions of the plant include Claudius, from Shakespeare's Hamlet, who used a potion containing the poison to kill the king.

Mr. Thompson has published a correction on the forum on his Web site, and Healthy & Organic Living also has a notice on its Web site (linked above). However, the current print edition of the magazine, containing the original interview, is on sale now: so I bet there are some worried editors at H&OL waiting to hear that readers ignorant of the correction have fed henbane to themselves and their loved ones, and are now in hospital!


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