Wendell Berry has a lot to say about our visions for life. In The Gift of Good Land, he discusses the destruction of prairie and forest, saying this...
"As we felled and burned the forests, so we burned, plowed, and overgrazed the prairies. We came with visions but not with sight. We did not see or understand where we were or what was there, but destroyed what was there for the sake of what we desired. And the desire was always native to the place we left behind." p.82
In saying this, Berry urges me to know my own land, to understand where I am, and what is here. I'm compelled not to simply destroy what exists, for the vision of "perfection" handed down to me. (In my county, that would be the vision of a pristine lawn with narry a "weed" in sight.)
So I am learning, and I am trying to participate in a "re-visioning."
As part of the process, I went on a wild edibles hike this past Saturday, with Steve Brill. And I came home to a weekend of discovery... that on my own property I have garlic mustard (pic above) with a "horseradish" root, and edible violets, and day lilies (don't confuse with inedible Tiger Lilies), dandelions, and wild onions.
I felt a fresh vision of the gift I hold right here, on my own small parcel of land. My ten-year-old daughter expressed it well on Sunday night. She gave this blessing before the meal...
"Thank you, Lord for this day when we could be together. And thank you for all this wonderful food, that we didn't even have to pay for! Amen."
For a related post on my other blog, visit Discerning the Violet
Here's a recipe using dandelion greens. Pick them young, before the flowers come, for milder greens. If you've already got flowers, you could also eat those instead. Just pluck the green part off the bottom.
Saute in a bit of oil 'til brown:
- 1 onion, chopped
Add and saute briefly:
- 1 garlic, minced
- 1 TB "bacuns"
- 1/2 tsp. smoke spice (if using Liquid Smoke, add at next step)
- 1/2 tsp. fennel seed
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Add and boil about 15 minutes (til potatoes tender):
- 2 potatoes, large dice
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked red beans or chickpeas
- large tomato, chopped, or small can diced tomatoes
- water, to cover all (put more or less for thicker or thinner soup)
- good pour olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- bunch of dandelion greens, chopped (let wilt in soup before serving); if dandelions are out of season, substitute spinach
Serve with crusty whole wheat bread or rice and a salad.
Caldo Gallego photo by L.L. Barkat.