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What is watercress?


Watercress is a peppery, delicate, dark green leafy vegetable that has been growing wild in cool streams of running water since Hippocrates prescribed it to his patients. The Romans fed it to their emperors and took it to cure baldness. The Egyptian Pharaohs fed it to their slaves. Victorians bundled its stems into little bouquets and walked around munching it in the streets like ice cream cones.

Britain is home to much of today's watercress production. The watercress sandwich became a British institution between the world wars, when the population depended on local products. In 2003, British watercress advocates waged a public awareness campaign for the dainty vitamin-packed member of the mustard family -- which is also used in salads, soups and other dishes and has begun to replace the ubiquitous parsley sprig as a garnish on restaurant plates -- entitled "Watercress: Not Just a Bit on the Side."

Recipe: Whole Wheat Fusili With Watercress, Red Peppers, Pine Nuts, and Garlic (Cookthink)
Recipe: Sweet Cress And Fruit Salad With Grapefruit-Verjus Vinaigrette (hogwash)



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