Leek

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For the town with the same name, see Leek, Staffordshire.

The leek (Allium ampeloprasum) is a vegetable of the Alliaceae family, related to the onion and to garlic. The major part of the plant consists of a column of thick leaves tightly packed in concentric rings, the outer leaves green, the inner white. It is commonly used as an ingredient in soups (particularly leek and potato soup and its derivative, vichyssoise), pies, etc.

The leek is a symbol of Saint David, in token of his austere monastic lifestyle, and, by extension, is also a symbol of Wales.

From the nineteenth century, the growing of giant leeks has been a popular pastime in working class areas in north-east England and other areas where mining and heavy industry were prevalent; 'Leek shows' are held in autumn in church halls, community centres and pubs across the region. They are highly competitive: growers guard their secret recipes for fertilisers closely, and the sabotage of potential prize leeks by rival growers is far from unknown.

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