Poppyseeds can be a nightmare for anyone subject to random drug tests. This much I knew, having researched the topic for my poppyseed cake recipe. I never imagined, though, that food could be more than just a little soporific. ABC Radio in Australia hauled Fuschia Dunlop before a microphone to enliven a discussion about the latest news about Chinese cooking. She reminisced:
As the afternoon went on we just got more and more relaxed until everyone just felt drowsy. We all went and fell asleep on beds and sofas and I can still remember having this absolutely blissful sleep. When I woke up I went back into the kitchen and I noticed that there were poppy heads bobbing around in the broth.
ABC's story contains the usual warnings about innocent people failing drug tests, but I found it more interesting for a couple of other points.
First, although banned in 2008, it is still possible to get opiated grub at small, family run restaurants, "thanks to a lack of health and safety oversight".
Then there's the question you know they just had to ask:
What does it taste like?
‘Under the assault of Szechuan pepper and chillies and black beans and all the other ingredients you wouldn't notice it,’ says Dunlop.
‘It's just another spice, but with a rather interesting effect.’
And finally, I wouldn't be true to myself if I failed to point out that the photo accompanying the audio file, while definitely a poppy is definitely not an opium poppy.