“It’s a spring cleaning ritual – but for your body,” touts reporter Jennifer Sheehan, extolling the merits of eating dandelion. “It cleans your blood and you get a lot of good vitamins from it,” another endorsement I read in Sheehan’s article from Lehigh Valley’s The Morning Call.
My mother would agree. Each spring about this time, she took her wooden-handled trowel and dug out dandelion plants fertilized by cow and horse manure in the meadow next door. “Dandelion has a lot of iron,” she said of the long, spiny leaves. “And it’s so good with hard-boiled eggs and bacon.”
Last week my sister Janice shared Mother’s recipe. I was pleasantly surprised because I didn’t know it was written down anywhere.
Add a little water till soft.
Add white sugar – a little vinegar
Fry bacon and hard boil two eggs
The recipe wouldn’t pass muster for cookbook publication, lacking as it does measurements and a logical order. But reading between the lines, I constructed her dish in a slightly different way.
First of all, I bought dandelion at a local farmer’s market. The label reads organic. The dandelion stalks pictured here look too perfect The dandelion strands of my childhood were more wiry, a deeper green. “Organic” was not a selling point back then.
I began by frying bacon and hard boiling eggs.
Instead of white sugar, I used brown.
And I saved the broth from cooking the dandelion. “It’s good for what ails you,” I imagine Mother would say.
Finally, good enough to eat!
Continuing the discussion of dandelion in The Morning Call, Sheehan quotes Patrick Donmoyer, an expert on Pennsylvania Dutch folklore, who believes eating dandelion greens is symbolic. “Donmoyer, who lectures at the Pennsylvania German Heritage Center in Kutztown, reports that some people believed that the dandelion were special, holy even, gathered as they were during the week leading up to Easter.”
Christians observed Easter nearly a month ago, but beginning Friday evening, Jewish families observe Passover, enjoying the ritual of the Seder meal. Surely no bacon will be served, but the menu will feature eggs, symbolizing renewal, and bitter herbs, signifying the agony of Hebrew enslavement in Egypt.
You can see a fully furnished Seder table here in a previous post. I wonder whether dandelion, like horseradish, would qualify as a bitter herb.
What rituals do you observe in the spring – eating certain foods? cleaning house? planting a garden?
Do you have a dandelion (or endive) recipe to share, or an experience of eating the dish? Have you observed the Passover Seder?
Coming next: All Creatures Great and Small: The Power of Pets