Thursday, August 03, 2006

Oh, the things I've eaten

Today I:

  • had two pieces of toast with margarine with jasmine green tea for breakfast
  • am having a salad for lunch

In the course of my websurfing today I came across a site on eating wild plants.

I paused.

Although the plants were Canadian it was an idea that really resonated with me. When I was still living in rural California I was exploring the edibility of native vegetation. My family had been in the area for over four generations, so such notions were not only considered pretty normal, but old-fashioned. (There are people in my family who have even seen water being divined.) Most of my family that still lives in the area have a vegetable garden in their back yard as a matter of course, and will eat wild plants without a second's thought. (Okay, maybe there will be second's thought, some thing like, "Did a dog piss on this?") Before I moved away I was drying spearmint on clotheslines in my room and contemplating just how much dandelion I would need for wine. And, how does one make wine?

I did a search through the internet and my memory, coming up with some interesting stuff.

I have eaten A LOT of berries. I could put bears to shame. Loganberries, blackberries - I learned the hard way that you need to wear jeans and a long sleeved shirt when you crawl into a briar. (Gloves wouldn't hurt, either.) I've denuded many a huckleberry and red huckleberry bush. (I was told not to eat the red huckleberries with black spots, but I have no idea why.) Pretty tame berries, right? Well, that wasn't where it ended. I also ate thimbleberries, the peach-fuzz leaves of which are nature's toilet paper. (Stinging nettle sometimes get confused with this plant, resulting in disasterous camping trips.) In my own back yard I ate the fruit of strawberry trees and fuschias.

Berries weren't the end of it. I remember being in high school reading something about some outback people eating sorrel salads and thinking, "What the hell?" and then, "I wonder if I can find any of that?" I was going to look it up. Ironic, really, since I now know that I had a thing for sorrel, and still do - I just called it sourgrass. Believe me, no other sorrel will do. But the sour part is not joke - after about a couple cups of sourgrass you're stomach will be upset. Trust me, I know.

I loved to go to the beach so that I could eat indian lettuce; screw the view. I also ate the seeds of something I can't find on the internet, some tall plant. Yeah. Hmm.

And I ate a lot of grass, mostly of the wild rye variety it seems.

Yep, my parents didn't have much trouble making me eat my fruit and vegetables.

Yesterday, I:

  • had a bowl of cereal with tea for breakfast
  • hada banana and home made burritos with carrots for lunch
  • drank a lot of tea
  • scored some boxes from my savior, Lissy
  • went to S'nB
  • had a decaf soy latte and a bag of chips there
  • drank a bottle of water (Did I mention it's hot?)
  • made another burrito for dinner
  • watched most of Time Bandits
  • knit

4 comments:

bitterknitter said...

I used to eat sourgrass (although I didn't know what it was called). And I'd eat grass and plants and bushes and flowers and anything else that looked non-poisonous. Illinois had a lot of different plants to eat! Everywhere else I lived, not so many.

I don't think I've had as many different berries as you have though. YUM, berries!

Jeanette said...

Can't say that I have every eaten any veggie that wasn't cultivated or bought. Closest I have come in my suburban life was to "drink" the drop of "honey" from honeysuckle flowers.

Carrie K said...

Huckleberries, strawberries and raspberries are about the only things I remember eating that were really wild. I'm sure Mike used to stop and pick all sort of things, but I just ate it. (Thankfully, no poisoned mushrooms).

But a garden? Forever.

Lissy said...

I used to steal the berries off my neighbor's garden vine. Does that give me cred? heee. Actually, when I was a kid at daycamp, we used to run around the woods picking blackberries. I'd bring home an hour's worth of foraging and it would go on my dad's morning cereal. That would send him into seventh heaven. I think that was nicer than even eating them myself.