The horror, that I would actually feed my kids a humble weed. At least that’s what Lauren was thinking when I served up a big bowl of dandelion greens. They’re bitter, so when I use them in my cooking, I make sure to give them a good toss with olive oil, salt, and a splash of vinegar. But they’re fun to taste on their own because that’s what we do on our mystery food challenge. Try vegetables in their raw state for the pure pleasure of exploring something new. And maybe if I hadn’t covered our lawn in weed killer, we’d have been eating more dandelions this year.
ME: Guys. I have a pretty special mystery food. Does anyone know what this is? You guys will not believe what it is.
ME: What do you think it is?
SAM: We don’t know what it is.
ME: I know, that’s why I’m asking. What do you think it is?
LAUREN: Lettuce greens?
ME: Nope. Have you seen this before, because I think you have. It’s kind of like a lettuce green. You’ve seen it before. It grows in our yard. Anyone have any idea?
LAUREN: (gives me a suspicious look)
ME: It’s dandelions. These are dandelion greens. You can actually eat them.
LAUREN: Oh, yuck.
ME: And I bought them at the Farmer’s Market, a whole bag of them, and you can actually eat them.
SAM: And you can just pick them from the front yard?
ME: Yes, you can just pick them from the yard, except that we spray weed killer on ours.
ME: I know. Isn’t that the worst thing ever? We could be hunting and foraging for chives and dandelion greens in our backyard because they both grow there, and instead we killed them with weed killer.
LAUREN: I’m feeling really sad for them.
ME: I know, isn’t that terrible? But that’s because there are a lot of other weeds in our backyard and we want to kill those so that they don’t take over our grass. Does anyone want to try some dandelion?
ME: Ok. And Sam, here’s one for you. Don’t you want to taste the dandelion?
ME: You want to at least smell it? Try it out.
ME: Ok, Emma, there’s your dandelion green. What does it taste like?
LAUREN: It tastes sour.
ME: It’s a really kind of bitter tasting green, isn’t it?
ME: Do you guys like them?
ME: What do you think Emma?
ME: Yeah? I bet they would be really good torn up on top of a watermelon salad. Sam, do you want to try yours? You’re missing out. Does it smell like anything?
LAUREN: Just air.
ME: So that probably means that it doesn’t smell like anything, does it? Well, do you think it tastes the same or different than the lettuce you were just eating?
ME: How is it different?
LAUREN: Because it’s bitter.
ME: It’s bitter? Does it taste like you’re eating soap?
LAUREN: [nods head]
ME: Yeah? Is that good or bad?
SAM: It’s bad.
ME: So what do you guys think? Should I get dandelion greens again at the store?
ME: Or should we just pick them from our front yard?
ME: Alright, I guess we won’t get these again.