Some of the botanical, historical and culinary inexactitudes expressed or implied in the article on cooked greens {Food, Jan. 6} lead one to wonder whether the writer put any real research into the article.

Those who write about the edibles that some call "soul food," in nostalgic references to a southern upbringing, sometimes seem particularly gullible in swallowing the questionable explanations often given about its origins.

To state as fact that seeds and plants of, or recipes for, cooked greens were brought to this country from Africa by slaves is strongly to suggest that these hapless humans were fully aware that they were being taken to colonize another part of the world and that they had the foresight and means to collect, pack and preserve on their voyage the seeds and plants involved. I very much doubt that historical evidence will show that such elaborate preparations were taken by persons who could consider themselves lucky if they were alive at the end of the voyage.

Looked at another way, botanical and horticultural experts studying the provenance or habitats of plants cultivated in this country acknowledge that the exact origins of some plants used for cooked greens are unknown. But of those currently used for food in this country, practically all are known or believed to be native to various parts of Europe or Asia, and none whatever to Africa. These include the genus Brassica, whose various subgroups include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, Chinese cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, rape, rutabaga, turnips, along with other genera including beets and Swiss chard, celery, escarole and endive, horseradishes and radishes, spinach, watercress and (from the Americas) lettuce and pokeweed (authority: "Hortus Third," McMillan Publishing Co., Inc.).

The article's final "important rule" -- that to "prevent the interaction of chemicals," greens shouldn't be cooked in iron or aluminum "pans" -- cries for more explanation. Without going into research, I would suspect that at least half the households in this country do most of their cooking of greens as well as other vegetables in aluminum and iron vessels. A news editor might be forgiven for thinking the article's lead is buried. Harold Hopkins