…I was gladdened to find, at last, hard scientific evidence that lettuce is an unsuitable food and that a craving for lettuce is evidence of a diseased brain.
-from Jeffrey Steingarten’s essay Brain Storm
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
For many chefs there is a discrepancy between what they want to serve and what will please their customers. As a chef I want to take seasonality seriously, but in most restaurants the owners and clientele find it unacceptable to not offer a green salad, even in the dead of winter. I deeply resent this.
Don’t misunderstand me: I like green salads. They’re refreshing. Personally, I like … Continue reading.
At left is the first harvest from the yard, largely rhubarb and dandelions.
Describing dandelions as “edible” is misleading. The term suggests that they should only be eaten in survival situations. (Would you ever describe spinach, or cheese, or pork, as merely “edible”?)
In reality, dandelions are a treasured leafy green in several European cuisines. They even have an entry in Larousse. Some excerpts from that article:
- “the English name is derived from the alternative French name dent-de-lion (literally ‘lion’s tooth’, referring to its serrated leaves)”
- “Wild dandelion leaves should be picked before the plant has flowered…, when they are small and sweet.” This line confuses me a bit. While our dandelion leaves are definitely better when small and
… Continue reading.
If you think that it’s weird to eat dandelion, or you find the bitter flavour unpalatable, you should try eating another common weed: lamb’s quarters. It is the perfect gateway weed, very approachable, with a texture and flavour quite similar to spinach. Lamb’s quarters are popping up everywhere, and now is the best time to pick them, when the plants have only a few leaves, for the following reasons:
- The young leaves are the most tender.
- The young leaves taste the best. Older leaves are a little more bland, with a wood flavour.
- Picking the leaves prevents the plant from going to seed. Once the plant goes to seed, it stops producing leaves, and it doesn’t taste as good.
… Continue reading.