Chicory is a family of plants similar to lettuce. According to an article I found on About.com, “Chicories are closely related to lettuces, but heartier and with a bitter edge. Cool weather crops that come into season in late fall (and last in temperate climates through early spring), chicories provide a lot of flavor to seasonal fall and winter meals. They include Belgian endive, curly endive, escarole, and radicchio.”
The chicory found in the orange box above, however, is the ground up root of the plant, not the leaves.
While the box advertises chicory as a coffee partner, chicory can actually be used on its own as a coffee substitute. This was done throughout history when coffee was too expensive or unavailable.
Many of you may be familiar with Cafe Du Monde, a popular New Orleans coffee that is enhanced with chicory. According to their website, “The taste for coffee and chicory was developed by the French during their civil war. Coffee was scarce during those times, and they found that chicory added body and flavor to the brew. The Acadians from Nova Scotia brought this taste and many other french customs (heritage) to Louisiana.”
Chicory and Pregnancy
Since posting my How Many of These Ingredients Do You Have in Your Pantry post, two readers have shared interesting chicory facts.
My twitter pal, LttleSnowflakes, suggested that perhaps I shouldn’t be eating chicory at all while pregnant (if the fact that I am pregnant is news to you, check out my pickle and ice cream cupcakes). She said that she had been told to keep away from it by her OB. She also directed me to a discussion thread about chicory and pregnancy on LiveJournal. Interestingly, there is also a discussion thread on the Teeccino site that claims that “the postings on the Internet that chicory root is supposedly not safe to drink during pregnancy are completely erroneous.”
I know that many take the “better safe than sorry” approach to pregnancy – if regardless of source, they hear that something could be harmful to their baby, they avoid it. I respect their line of thinking 100%. I, however, take more of an “innocent until proven guilty” approach and an “all things in moderation” approach. That’s why I have just a little bit of crack each morning to get the baby going.*
Seriously, there is so much information out there about what pregnant women should and should not consume that I choose to research controversial foods and beverages – looking for proven data and incorporating my OB’s opinions. Of course, some (you know who you are) have said that my OB is some kind of a quack because she said it was OK to eat sushi while pregnant. Go ahead, begin the lecture.
Chicory and Personality/Mood
Blog reader Kratzy of Random Thoughts and Stream of Consciousness commented that while she did not have chicory in her pantry, she did have chicory essence. As you can see above, she says that it is known to give “a sense of comfort and security.” That may be just the thing that is needed for a pregnant lady.
However, I did some of my own research and found a chicory essence on Amazon. Look at what the product description on Amazon says:
Chicory (Cichorium intybus) is a flower essence for individuals who control and manipulate their loved ones; their care is self-centered and manipulative; they are critical, interfering, nagging, talkative, opinionated, argumentative, and dislike being alone. Chicory: This Essence helps you at times where you get too selfishly possessive, you tend to manipulate your loved ones and expect others to conform to your values. You may be too critical, interfering and nagging. Chicory helps you to be less selfish and be able to offer genuine love. You will feel fulfilled and self-assured.
After reading that description, don’t you want to buy some and slip it into the drinks of some people you know. Do you have anyone in mind?*
If you can’t find chicory at at store near you, you can buy chicory online.
For more on chicory, check out its Wikipedia article.
*Cupcake Project does not endorse drug use during pregnancy or slipping anything into anyone’s drink.