Was there ever a mafia related parsley racket?
December 6, 2004 12:53 PM   Subscribe

I keep telling this story about parsley and the mob- about wolf-owning mobster Un Occhio's feared parsley racket, which explains why parsley was a ubiquitous garnish for so long- that my parents told me, and swear by. Finally, my roommate called me on it. A little searching turned up a mere two mentions: an article by Jimmy Breslin, and an article about Jimmy Breslin, which mentions that Un Occhio was one of his charming fictional characters. I accept that I have been at least partially snookered. Still, was there ever a parsley racket?
posted by paul_smatatoes to Grab Bag (5 answers total)
It seems pretty implausible. Restaurants are often run on thin margins, with high overhead, operating costs, etc. Parsely doesn't seem like the sort of business that would lend itself to Costa Nostra-level profits, not compared to hookers, bootlegging, bookmaking and cocaine.

I wouldn't worry too much about the truth getting in the way of a good story, though.
posted by LimePi at 1:39 PM on December 6, 2004

I don't know anything about a racket, but the reason parsley was so ubiquitous was because you were supposed to eat it. It's a great natural breath freshener, and many cocktail party treats tend to be, shall we say... pungent.
posted by cali at 1:43 PM on December 6, 2004

It's a joke, son.
posted by languagehat at 7:08 PM on December 6, 2004

Well, if everyone says there wasn't a parsely racket then who am I to disagree?

There was, however, an egg cream racket according to an article in Gastronomica entitled The Egg Cream Racket. According to this article, at least 50 industries in New York were controlled by rackets. The article lists several including grapes, kosher chickens and artichokes. The story regarding parsely is obviously fictional and likely unfounded in reality but it certainly isn't implausible.
posted by stuart_s at 8:25 PM on December 6, 2004

Response by poster: Because stuart_s came closest to supporting my parents' phoney-baloney parsley story, I award him 37 points, and offer this link to the original Egg Cream Racket story. Thanks, ask!

(even if it means my roommate will never believe me again)
posted by paul_smatatoes at 10:33 PM on December 6, 2004

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