No Weeds in the Yard, and Dandelion for Dinner!

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Sunday, April 17, 1911: I got a supply of novelettes this morning. Will have something to do now during my leisure hours. Ruth and I expected company this afternoon, but they didn’t come. Gathered some dandelions. 

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

This is the third time in less than 8 days that Grandma gathered dandelions (see the April 10 and 13 posts). In today’s world it is easy to get most any fresh fruit or vegetable we desire whenever we want them throughout the year, and it is difficult  to imagine how excited people once were when dandelions and other bitter greens became available in the spring. Throughout the winter months the family would have been eating vegetable that had been stored since the previous fall (potatoes, squash, parsnips, etc.). These greens were the first new fresh vegetables since the previous fall.

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Husband Bill said that I’d been talking about how awesome dandelions were all week—and that I should make myself useful and help dig the dandelions out of the yard. We spent some quality time together, enjoyed a spring day, had dandelion for dinner, and the yard looks great!

Creamed Dandelion Recipe

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:

Monday, April 10, 1911: I helped to wash this morning. Mistress Besse was out this afternoon and went with Miss Ruth out to gather some delicious dandelion. Ours was no good after all.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Dandelion! Grandma’s diary entry reflects that excitement that fresh dandelion generated.

Dandelion, endive, and other bitter greens used to be considered a spring tonic. People traditionally had a very limited selection of foods during the late winter months, and they really looked forward to eating fresh greens in the spring.

When I was a child we often ate creamed dandelion served over mashed potatoes in the spring. I remember older relatives saying that they felt healthier after eating spring greens.

I seldom make creamed dandelion, but often make creamed endive.  Endive tastes similar to dandelion, but it isn’t quite as bitter.

CREAMED DANDELION (ENDIVE)

4 cups dandelion (or endive)

3 slices bacon, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

1 heaping tablespoon sugar

2  tablespoons vinegar

1 cup milk

Mashed potatoes, if desired

Wash dandelion and tear into pieces; set aside.

Cut bacon into pieces and fry until crisp in a large skillet. Stir in flour, sugar, and vinegar. Gradually stir in milk; heat until bubbly using medium heat. Reduce heat to low; stir in dandelion and cover for 1 minute. Remove lid and stir until wilted. Delicious when served over mashed potatoes.

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