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Grim's Tales: I survived attempted poisonings in my childhood; you may have, too

It’s garden season, finally, and my entire family is starting to put things in the ground. I’m trying to grow adzuki beans, lemon grass and a few other exotic specialties in addition to my traditional carrots, onions, peppers and what not.

My father has a garden full of goodies already, my oldest brother started corn indoors, my other brother is picking up perennial shrubs for his new home and my mom is growing lycopersicon esculentum, or wolf peaches. You’ve never heard of them? Well, let’s start by saying they contain a poisonous, bitter alkaloid called solanine, and my mother used to try to make my siblings and me eat them.

She used to hide them in our food — under lettuce leaves, in sandwiches, really anywhere she thought we wouldn’t notice. Luckily, we knew better.

My mother’s attempts to sneak poisonous fruits into our systems didn’t last forever. Amazingly, she stopped when told that we didn’t care for them. To this day nobody believes me when I try to tell them of my mother’s attempts. I don’t get why it’s so unbelievable to them.

There are people who actually eat wolf peaches on purpose. I guess they get a thrill out of cheating death when they don’t ingest enough to die.

The symptoms of poisoning from this family of plants includes acute hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, weakness, excess salivation, rapid breathing, trembling, progressive paralysis, prostration and death. Doctors in recent years have attributed worsening arthritis pain to the wolf peach. They say it can trigger nicotine cravings in former smokers, because solanine is in the same family of chemicals.

Smaller animals like dogs and cats are even more susceptible to solanine poisoning, so it takes far less for them to be affected. Manufacturers make pesticides from its leaves, for crying out loud.

Other fruits belonging to this family have hallucinogenic properties, including the sense of flying. No wonder people get a thrill from eating wolf peaches. It’s like skydiving without having to leave your home.

The wolf peach used to be a very popular ornamental plant. I guess that explains how people were exposed to it. However, back then, all it was used for was looks and witchcraft. The fruit of this plant is so notorious that there has been a horror film about it.

All this, and people still eat it! I’ll guarantee you know someone who likes to sneak this into his or her meals, thinking you won’t notice. It’s getting pretty popular, actually. All you have to do is watch the news; they’ll mention scientific research on it from time to time.

Despite all these facts, lovers of the wolf peach constantly tell me I had nothing to fear in the days when my mother used to feed them to us. They say I prove it’s harmless every time I eat a pizza or salsa. I then tell them I don’t know how it works, but when they are processed into condiments they not only taste better but also lose their toxins.

I still fear for my life at the hands of the dreaded wolf peach, a fruit you might know as the tomato. Everything I have told you is true, and if decide not to heed my warning, I wish you good luck.