W151: Weeds

This week I didn’t make it to the farmer’s market. I did weed much of the front garden though.

Okay, confession. I tossed the dandelion weeds in the compost last Thursday. Then, I couldn’t stop thinking about what a spectacular waste that was. Instead, I bought local dandelion weeds at the grocery carrying local organic produce.

While seaching for a recipe like my Lebanese mother in law used to fix I came across a fascinating website of an herbalist. She devoted a week this spring to dandelions. I want to include the first a bits of the others. But, though I wasted the weeds in my garden, I don’t want to also be a thief. Please visit this fascinating site, the Herbwife’s Kitchen where she begins the week with this definition:

Dandelion week: history of the little lion’s tooth.

May 10, 2007 at 11:02 am • Filed under Dandelion
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has been used medicinally for as long as people have bothered to write about such things. It might be native to the Middle East (but no one’s really sure) and it’s traveled to just about every corner of the temperate world by now. [snip]

Medieval Latin from Arabic, ultimately Persian. The Synonymia Arabo-Latina of Gerard of Cremona (died 1189) has ‘Tarasacon, species cichorei’. This appears to have been a corruption or misreading of the Arabic name tarakhshaqoq or tarkhshaqoq, itself according to the Burhan-i-Kati (native Persian lexicon), originally an arabicized form of the Persian talkh chakok ‘bitter herb’.

Dandelion is of course from the French “lion’s tooth” (dent de lion), but these days the French just call it pissenlit, “piss-the-bed”—which also happens to be an old-time English name for the plant. In 1565 John Hall wrote in his Courte of Vertu, “Lyons tooth, That Chyldren call Pysbed.” (OED entry for pissabed.)

Pissabed. Remember that. It’s a pretty good first clue to how dandelion works.

Ha! Since I just joined Crunchy Chicken’s Golden Showers Garden Party, and last night I saved my ‘night water’ to dilute this morning 1:10 with tap water for my own nitrogen factory experiment, I find the perfect food = dandelion.

Well, I didn’t find a recipe that made me think of Sitto (grandma in a kind of Arabic), so I just tossed it in my salad mix, which included radishes and spinach from my own garden. I also made a hot dish using bok choy, onion and garlic. I seasoned this dish of greens with salt, pepper and soy sauce. It was delicious over a baked sweet potato. I made enough for two meals, so I get that again today.

What I am craving is a dandelion frittata. The thing is I don’t have cheese. I may have to just call it an omelet, but this picture from tiny banquet is so mouth watering, right?

I have decided to make that dish again and serve it with lentil stew and a yogurt side dish. I am onto something here with the mild bok choy and the sharp, peppery dandelion combination. Maybe lots more of this, especially with the soy sauce, will help me with my recent cravings for salt in snack form. Crapilicious stuff.

Dandelion diagram


ecogeek said...

Last year I bought a book on edible plants that grow in this region (the Midwest). My forays into wild food have been few in number so far, but exciting. The mulberries are just coming in season (day before yesterday, nothing. Yesterday, sidewalk covered in black splotches), so maybe this year I'll get off my arse to use some. That's the thing I have to get used to about seasonal foods - they don't wait for you to feel like using them!

katecontinued said...

You are so right. It makes me think of the tomato poisoning going on now. I read dozens and dozens of comments at Shakesville (political and culture blog) and not one person brought up the point that tomatoes were not in season. Ag-business has conditioned us to complete detachment from nature and growing seasons and real ripeness.