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.
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.